Archive for the ‘TGIF2’ Category

The Religious Spirit at Work

Friday, March 31st, 2017

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12).

As we begin to express the life of Christ in our work lives, we need to be aware of another set of Satan’s deceptions, namely, the religious spirit.

The religious spirit can best be defined as an agent of Satan assigned to prevent change and maintain the status quo by using religious devices. The religious spirit seeks to distort a genuine move of God through deception, control, and manipulation. This spirit operates out of old religious structures and attempts to maintain the status quo, favoring tradition over a genuine, intimate relationship with God. It influences believers to live the Christian life based on works instead of grace. Similar to the

Greek way of thinking, the religious spirit depends on human effort to acquire spiritual knowledge and favor from God.

In the years before the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther’s greatest challenge was to root out the religious spirit. He was told by his religious teachers that there were stringent requirements for receiving the favor of God. “Remember Martin, just to pray by yourself is not enough. The church has to pray for you too. Even when the priest has asked that you be forgiven, God will not listen unless you do good works. The more gifts you give to the church and to the poor, the more trips you make to Rome and Jerusalem, the more pleasures you give up, the better will be your chances for heaven. The best and safest way to do all this, and the one that is most God pleasing, is to give up everything and become a monk.” The essence of Martin Luther’s struggle to win God’s favor still resides in many a Christian worker.

The religious spirit nullifies the importance of faith and grace that has been given to us through the work of the Cross. You cannot gain acceptance from God by doing any works. Accept His unconditional love for you today.

*Frederick Nohl, Luther (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 1962), p. 26.

Live As Though You Are Dead

Thursday, March 30th, 2017

“In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Rom 6:11-12).

“How will I know when I am going to come out of my adversity pit?” said the woman sitting across from me. “When it doesn’t matter anymore,” I replied. It brought back memories, when I also sat across from a mentor who said to me, “The only problem you have Os is you are not dead yet. You need a good funeral.” He was talking about my carnal flesh life.

When Joseph was elevated to be ruler over the entire kingdom of Egypt after years of slavery and imprisonment, my guess is that it didn’t really matter that much to him. He thought he was going to get out of prison years earlier when he successfully interpreted the cupbearers dream only to remain there two more years. “Why should this situation prove any different?” he must have thought to himself.

I believe Joseph had come to a place with God where he resigned himself to remain wherever God had chosen to keep him. He had become dead to his circumstances. It does not mean we can’t have a longing for better days, but there is a Godly contentment that allows us to remain in any condition with a peace that passes all understanding.

The Bible says we are to live as though we are dead. This does not mean we do not have emotions or dreams. “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them (Mark 14:34). That sounds like anxiety to me, yet we know Jesus never sinned. So, we can conclude that we can have concerns and emotions without crossing over into sin. God has given us His Spirit to allow us to operate inside the storms of life without sinning.

Place your faith today into the hands of the One who can calm any storm in life.

Becoming Influential

Wednesday, March 29th, 2017

“The LORD will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the LORD your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom” (Deut 28:13-14).

Coca-Cola, at this time of writing, has a 40% market share in the soft drink industry. It is the number one brand in the world. When Coke comes into a business environment, they have authority in that realm. They have great respect because of their position in business.

George Barna, the U.S. Christian researcher on Christian activity tells us that 35-45% of the U.S. population is born again. Based on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in the year2005, there were 149 million adult workers. Simply multiplying this figure by 40% would give you a figure of 59 million Christian adult workers. If this is so, why aren’t we having more impact?

I would have to say the body of Christ in America is not the head, but is still the tail. Part of the reason for this is that we have not understood our biblical mandate to have dominion on the earth as was modeled in Genesis with Adam and Eve. When Jesus returned to earth He came to save that which was lost and restore this principle of dominion (Luke 19:10). When Jesus prayed in the Lord’s prayer: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt 6:9-10), He was praying that His dominion would be restored on earth just as it is in Heaven.

However, we have given over this leadership to the ungodly in our societies. In order to restore this we must win the battle in seven key domains in society. These include 1) business, 2) government, 3) education, 4) arts and entertainment, 5) religion, 6) media and 7) the family.

This begins by affirming the calling of men and women in the workplace as having a holy calling. Realize that whatever work you are doing, God has called you to express His life in that arena in order to have His dominion over the earth.

Kingdom Economics

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

“So I gave you a land on which you did not toil and cities you did not build; and you live in them and eat from vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant” (Josh
24:13).

In the world of business we are taught to do whatever it takes to produce a desired outcome. Competitive forces can drive companies to go beyond the limits of ethics and integrity to achieve a desired outcome. Men and women can become work-a-holics as the need for competitive advantage is passed down the various management levels in order to meet sales and marketing goals. This sweat and toil mentality contradicts God’s Kingdom Economy.

The Kingdom Economy is found in the above verse in Joshua. When the people of Israel were coming out of Egypt, a place of sweat and toil and slavery, God was trying to teach them a new economy of receiving. Instead of sweat and toil, He wanted them to learn obedience. Now their income would be based on their obedience, not their skill or their sweat and toil.

This new Kingdom Economy meant that there would be times when what you receive from your efforts might be less than the commensurate time invested. Yet, there would also be times when you would receive more compared to your time invested.

I used to determine whether I would meet with a person based on my perceived return on that investment. I justified that behavior as being a good steward. God says we are to determine if He wants us to meet with that person or be involved with an endeavor based on His leading alone, not based on the perceived outcome. It is His responsibility to bring fruit from the activity.

This will result in a new freedom in your work life. Stay vertical with God and let Him determine your next activity.

Hearing the Voice of God-Even on the Job

Monday, March 27th, 2017

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me. . . . My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:14,27).

Tom Fox is a successful financial investment manager who heads up a workplace ministry in the Twin Cities, Minnesota area. He used to be troubled when he heard Christians say, “The Lord told me . . . ” He certainly had never heard God speak to him like that. “What is different about those people and me?” he wondered. In the book of John, Tom had read that Jesus had said that His sheep hear His voice, but he didn’t understand how they could do that. His pursuit to answer that question began his quest to discover how to hear God’s voice himself.

Today, Tom realizes that God does speak and that we, as His children, can hear His voice. He has discovered how to hear God’s words of guidance in his daily life, which includes the day-to-day operations of his business, and he is teaching others how to hear God’s voice as well.

A friend of mine told me a story about an experience he had in Israel that demonstrates how sheep know their shepherd’s voice. He and his wife were visiting some of the famous biblical sites when they saw a group of shepherds and their flocks. They watched as three different shepherds put their sheep in the same pen for the night, and they wondered how in the world the shepherds would separate their sheep the next day, since none of them had any identifying marks on them.

My friend got up early the next morning to watch the shepherds gather their sheep. The first shepherd went over to the pen and called out to his sheep. One by one, his sheep (and only his sheep) filed out to follow him. The same thing happened with the other two shepherds. My friend said it was amazing to watch how only the shepherd’s sheep followed him while the others remained in the pen–and all because they recognized his voice. What a picture of Jesus’ words spoken centuries earlier.

Ask God to help you hear the voice of God–even on the job.

The Black Hole

Sunday, March 26th, 2017

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

On February 20, 1962, at 9:47 A.M., the spacecraft Friendship 7 rose on a pillar of fire, piloted by lone astronaut John Glenn. Leaving the coast of Florida far behind, the space capsule orbited the earth three times, traveling 81,000 miles in less than four hours. As the craft began its descent from space, mission controllers in Houston received a warning signal. A sensor indicated that the capsule’s heat shield was in danger of detaching. If the heat shield came loose during reentry, the capsule would burn like a meteor–and John Glenn would die.

Because radio waves cannot penetrate plasma, the spacecraft experienced a total communications blackout–what astronauts and mission controllers call a “black hole”.

The minutes crawled by and the suspense mounted in the Houston control room. NASA engineers felt totally helpless. Finally, after five minutes of silence, mission controllers heard Glenn’s voice crackling over the radio: “Friendship 7 to Houston?”

Shouts of joy shook the control room. John Glenn was coming home. Although neither Glenn nor the mission controllers knew it at the time, the heat shield was absolutely firm and reliable. The fears for John Glenn’s safety during his black hole experience were unfounded.

If you’ve ever been through a major crisis, you probably know what a communications “black hole” feels like. While you are in the pit of adversity, you feel that your world is collapsing, that your life is out of control–and that God is silent. The silence of a black hole is deafening. You feel isolated and alone. You question God’s love, His care for you, and even His existence.

But even when it seems that God is distant and silent, your “heat shield” is still there, firm and reliable. In your black hole experience, God is teaching you to go deeper into your relationship with Him. You may think that your life is out of control and burning like a meteor, but in reality God, your heat shield, still protects you from the fiery forces that surround you.

Thinking Big

Saturday, March 25th, 2017

“For nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:36-37).

It was 4:00 A.M. in Cape Town, South Africa, in July 2000 when businessman Graham Power was awakened by a vision from God that came in three distinct parts. In the first part of the vision, God instructed Graham to rent the 45,000-seat Newlands rugby stadium in Cape Town for a day of repentance and prayer for that city. In the second part of the vision, he saw the prayer movement spreading to the rest of South Africa for a national day of prayer. In the final part of the vision, he saw the prayer effort spread to cover the rest of the continent.

It was only thirty days earlier that a man named Gunnar Olson stood in front of a podium at the conclusion of a marketplace conference in Johannesburg, South Africa and proclaimed Isaiah 60 which said to “Arise and shine” over the continent of Africa and that God was going to use Africa to bless the nations.

Graham was obedient to the vision, and on March 21, 2001, a capacity crowd gathered in the Newlands rugby stadium for prayer and repentance. Soon after, a notorious gangster in the city was saved. News of the first gathering spread quickly, and in 2002, eight cities in South Africa hosted a day of prayer. Leading up to the event, young people from all over the country took part in a “walk of hope” from Bloemfontein to the eight stadiums where the prayer meetings were to be held. The events were broadcast on television.

By June 2006, what began as Transformation Africa became the Global Day of Prayer with participation from 200 nations from seven continents around the world. And this prayer movement is still growing.

It all started from the obedience of one businessman. What might God want to do through your life? It begins with being obedient to the small things and exercising your faith to believe God can do it. Our part is obedience. His part is outcome.

Mourning for Your City

Friday, March 24th, 2017

“When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven” (Neh 1:4).

Nehemiah lived in the world of politics. He was a high ranking worker in the government of Babylon. His official title was cupbearer for King Artaxerxes. He would be considered the modern-day U.S. Secret Service agent who made sure the King was safe from being poisoned.

Judah had been driven into exile and some of his friends had just returned with news about his fellow brothers and sisters in Jerusalem.

In the month of Kislev in the twentieth year, while I was in the citadel of Susa, 2 Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem. They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire” (Neh 1:1-3).

Nehemiah’s response upon hearing the news is the kind of response that is necessary for a Christian leader to impact his or her city. He responded by weeping for the condition of his beloved city. He immediately went into prayer and asked for God’s direction on how he could be a positive impact on his city. He developed a strategy to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem. He accomplished the task in only fifty-two days.

Do you weep for your city? God is calling forth men and women from the marketplace today to be catalyst to impact their cities. Begin today to pray for your city and ask God how you can be a catalyst to rebuild the spiritual wall of your city.

Receiving Only What God Can Give

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

“A man can receive only what is given him from heaven” (John 3:27).

John the Baptist was in the business of bringing sinners to the place of repentance by baptizing them and teaching them about the coming Messiah. Over time, he had developed quite a customer base of disciples. Yet when the promised Messiah showed up-the fulfillment of John’s business plantrue to form, his coworkers (or disciples) went to John to complain that the one he had testified about was stealing all of his customers. “Rabbi,” they said, “that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan . . . well, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him” (John 3:26). John’s response showed clearly he understood his purpose and role in life in the above verse.

John understood that we receive by understanding our purpose and what God desires us to receive in light of our purpose. We need not worry about what others receive, only if we are receiving what God wants us to receive. Many of us try to receive things God never intended us to receive or be someone God never intended us to be.

A story is told about F. B. Meyer, the great Bible teacher and pastor who lived a century ago. He was pastoring a church when he began to notice that attendance was dropping. This continued until he finally asked some members of his congregation one Sunday morning why they thought this was happening. A member suggested, “It is because of the new church down the road. The young preacher has everyone talking and many are going to hear him speak.” The young preacher’s name was Charles Spurgeon.

Meyer, rather than seeking to discourage this development, exhorted his entire congregation to join him and go participate in seeing this “move of God,” as he described it to them. “If this be happening, then God must be at work.” Meyer, like John the Baptist, understood the principle of receiving from God and was not threatened by the new competition in town. Instead, he joined it.

Do you model a Kingdom mindset? Do you rejoice when others succeed? Are you receiving only what God desires you to receive?

Team Building

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

“…you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

Building a good team is key to the success of any enterprise. Jesus chose twelve unique individuals to build His world-changing enterprise. He intentionally chose several who had similar backgroundsPeter, James, and John were fisherman. Matthew and Simon the Zealot came from opposing political views. Matthew came from an industry considered corrupthe was a tax collector. It is clear Jesus chose those who had a skill set first, then changed the character of the individual. He mentored each one.

A good team needs to have team members with different viewpoints as well as those who are specialists in a particular area. It is noteworthy that Jesus chose someone expertise in handling money. Taking a team of twelve around the country required money and the ability to manage it. I’m sure Jesus spent a great deal of time with Matthew mentoring him on the proper use of money. He had to reshape his thinking about money.

Once the team was formed Jesus spent time molding His team into a cohesive unit to operate in unity. He corrected them when correction was needed. He taught them what it meant to love one another. He washed their feet. He taught and modeled servant leadership. Before you put a team together sit down and make a list of the skills you want represented on your team. Then recruit and invest spiritually into your team. Who knows, your team might just change the world, too!

Thinking Outside the Box

Tuesday, March 21st, 2017

“But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do” (John 6:6).

Jesus and the disciples had just crossed the Sea of Galilee and multitudes followed Him because of the miracles they saw Him do. He was about to speak to them when Jesus realized it was dinner time and the people would be hungry. There were more than 5,000 people who needed to be fed.

Jesus already knew what He was going to do in this situation. However, He was testing the disciples to see if they would think beyond themselves to find a God-solution to the problem. They failed the test. They immediately thought like most of us would think. The disciples looked in their pocketbooks and realized they did not have adequate resources to purchase enough food for the crowd. It is when we come to the end of our resources that God comes in with His resources.

When I first published volume one of TGIF in book form, I was required to order 1,000 copies from my publisher. We had very little distribution and sales of materials at that time. So, after a few months, we still had boxes and boxes of inventory in my basement. “These books are doing me, nor anyone else, any good in my basement,” I said to a friend of mine who was with me. “I think we need to go downstairs and lay hands on the books and command them to leave based on Mark 11:23 which says we can speak to the mountain and have it removed.” We walked downstairs and prayed, “In the name of Jesus get out of the basement and go be a blessing to someone who can benefit from these books!” Feeling very foolish, I walked upstairs. Two hours later I received a call from a Texas-based workplace ministry. They ordered 300 books! Until then, we had never sold more than a few copies in one day!

When a problem arises in your work life do you think only the logical thought? Perhaps God has created this problem as an opportunity to reveal His glory in the situation. Next time, go outside the box and see the glory of God manifested in your problem!

Do Not Reach for the Power

Monday, March 20th, 2017

“For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh” (Philippians 3:3).

A few years ago, I was asked by a large organization to meet with them about doing some cooperative projects in the faith at work area. I visited their headquarters and had several initial discussions. We concluded that we would proceed on a joint conference.

During my visit, I stayed overnight at the headquarters of this ministry. I was awakened at 5 A.M. and led to read Exodus 33:15. Moses said he could not go any further if God did not promise that His presence would go with him. I sensed this was to be our theme for the conference.

Later that morning, I shared that I had received this leading from the Lord regarding the theme of the conference with some of the people in the organization. However, when I shared this with the leader of the organization, he did not take it seriously. I was a bit irritated and my pride was hurt, but I decided to follow a principle that I had been walking in for a few years: act like you have the authority, but do not reach for the power. I realized that if God had truly spoken His words into my heart, I would not have to exercise my authority to make it happen. God would orchestrate it.

More discussion was given to the theme, but nothing was resolved. A few hours later, the conference theme came up again. I turned to a friend and read Exodus 33:15 aloud, and he got excited about using that verse as the possible theme of the event. The leader, to my amazement, chimed in as well and said, “Yes, that should be the theme of the conference.” It was a big lesson for me.

Act like you have the authority, but do not reach for the power.

Hanging Out With Sinners

Sunday, March 19th, 2017

“When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.’ So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. All the people saw this and began to mutter, ‘He has gone to be the guest of a ‘sinner'” (Luke 19:5-7).

Jesus modeled four things when He lived on the earth that allowed Him to impact other people’s lives. I call them the Four B’s of transformation.

First, he built a relationship with them. In the marketplace it is rare that you can impact a person without building a relationship first. The old saying, “People don’t care what you know until they know that you care” is especially true in the workplace. Jesus modeled this in His life every day of his public ministry.

The second thing Jesus did was he blessed them. He tried to meet a physical need they had. Many times he healed them first, then told them to go and sin no more. He listened to their concerns.

The third thing Jesus did was He began praying for them. He often prayed for deliverance for a person that was demon possessed. He prayed they would know the Father. He prayed for Lazarus to come back from the dead.

Finally, the fourth thing Jesus did was He Brought the Kingdom of God into their lives. He invited people to believe in Him as the Savior of the world and to partake of eternal life.

I decided to test this model with an acquaintance. I intentionally refused to talk about Jesus to this person until I had accomplished the first three steps in my relationship with him. After I had fulfilled the first three steps, I presented Christ to my friend. He received Christ immediately because the soil was prepared and he was ready to receive.

As you consider your ministry at work, consider these four stages of relationship building before you present Christ to others. You will find the fruit of this process will be great.

Two Types of People

Saturday, March 18th, 2017

“O LORD, by your hand save me from such men, from men of this world whose reward is in this life” (Ps 17:14).

There are two types of people in the world. There are those whose activities are designed to generate a reward in this lifetime. And there are those who live to generate a reward when they meet our Lord in Heaven.

Not every Christian models the latter. How does one judge whether they are living for the future reward versus the earthly reward? There are several key indicators.

Future reward people tend to be givers. They make their time and resources available to be channeled for Kingdom purposes. They realize their sowing will ultimately be rewarded at the Judgment Seat of Christ where what they have done on earth will be judged and rewarded by God (2 Corinthians 5:10).

Future reward people live a life based upon obedience-based decisions. They don’t make decisions based on their perceived outcome. They realize a decision based on obedience alone may not result in an immediate outcome. Jesus was obedient to the cross, but the immediate outcome was His own death on the cross.

Future reward situations show up in daily life in a number of ways. Perhaps a person has wronged you and God calls you to forgive and even bless that person without expectation of their response. Perhaps God calls you to sow money into a ministry or another person’s life without expectation of return from them.

Perhaps you are called to serve another person without expectation of any earthly reward. The situations we might encounter are unlimited.

Are you living a life based on a future reward, or short term reward? Today, evaluate how you make decisions and how you allocate resources. This will reveal whether you are a future reward Christian.

Receiving Bad News

Friday, March 17th, 2017

“A vast army is coming against you from Edom, from the other side of the sea. . . Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the LORD. . .” (2 Chron 20:2-3).

Have you ever had someone bring you really bad news? It was so bad that when you heard it your stomach immediately became upset. You went into a crisis mode. I once received a letter that brought such fear upon me I could hardly stand up.

This was the situation for King Jehoshaphat. He had just been informed that his country was going to be attacked by an army much larger than his. However, instead of panicking, he immediately turned to the Lord by calling for a time of a fasting and prayer.

The people from every town in Judah responded.

King Jehoshaphat prayed and reminded God of His promise to Israel. Then he asked God for strategy. “For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.” At the end of his prayer it says they waited on God’s answer. It came through the prophet, Jahaziel son of Zechariah. He said, “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the LORD says to you: ‘do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s'” (2 Chron 20:15-16).

God supernaturally wiped out their enemies that day. They didn’t even have to fight. God caused the enemy to fight themselves. However, the one thing they did do that began the ambush was when they began to praise God on the battlefield. “As they began to sing and praise, the LORD set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated” (2 Chron 20:22-23).

Jehoshaphat immediately did four things in response to bad news. He called for prayer, he called for fasting, he asked for God’s strategy, and he began his battle by praising God in the midst of the battle.

Maybe you’ve just gotten some bad news. If so, follow the example of Jehoshaphat. Pray. Fast. Ask. Praise.

Power Repentance

Thursday, March 16th, 2017

“When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, ‘Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!'” (Luke 5:8-9).

Are you playing Christianity or having an encounter daily with the living Christ? Peter was going about his work-day trying to earn a day’s wage in his fishing business. Jesus showed up on the shoreline after they’d had a bad day. They had caught no fish.

Jesus asked to use his boat by casting off the shoreline in order to teach the people. After Jesus used Peter’s business for His purposes, He turned to Peter and suggested he throw his nets out again. Peter, somewhat reluctant and argumentative, said in his hallmark attitude, “Been there, done that Master … you don’t know what you’re talking about.” (my paraphrase). How many times do you and I do the same thing? “Jesus doesn’t care about my work life. He only cares about the orphans and the poor,” we say to ourselves.

When Peter’s nets are filled with fisha strange awareness comes over him. “When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, ‘Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!'” Peter was overwhelmed at the personal love and power that was directed specifically at his need at the momenthis ailing business. It was more than he could handle. “God even cares about the condition of my business,” Peter must have thought.

Whenever we move from playing Christianity to having a genuine encounter with the living Christ, we are confronted with our own humanity and sin compared to the unmerited love and power of Jesus Christ that is personally directed to us. It should bring us to our knees. It is an awesome experience to transition from religion to relationship. Life is never the same when you have a personal encounter with our Savior.

How about you? Do you need a personal encounter with Jesus today? Ask Him to reveal His power in your work today.

Shepherd Your People

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

“Shepherd your people with your staff, the flock of your inheritance, which lives by itself in a forest, in fertile pasturelands” (Micah 7:14).

You and I are called to be shepherds in the workplace. Your “staff” (vocation) represents your calling to your work life ministry. Moses’ staff represented his calling as a shepherd.

God’s first words to Moses were: “Remove your shoes. For this is Holy ground.” God came to Moses during his work day. His work became holy because God’s presence was there.

God used Moses’ staff to perform miracles and deliver the people of Israel from bondage. (Ex. 4:17). He is still issuing this same call today to you and I in the workplace. For most of us, this is where our inheritance lies. As we minister through our work life call, our inheritance will come as a result of letting God use our abilities. Paul tells us in Colossians 3:23, 24: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”

What makes our work holy is the motivation by which we do it. If we work to glorify God in it and serve others in the process, that is what makes it ministry. The word ministry and service are derived from the same Greek word, diakonia.

Those in the workplace are like a remnant of a wayward people in a forest awaiting harvest. It is a fertile pasture awaiting a shepherd who can lead them into a life of purpose and destiny. Will you be the instrument of God to shepherd His people out of bondage?

Ask the Lord to use your “staff” to perform miracles and to become a shepherd to those He has called you to lead. Why not start today?

3 Phase Obedience

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

“Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself'” (Matthew 22:37,38).

From 1994 to 2001, I went through what I call my “Joseph Pit” experience. It was during this time of great adversity and great growth that I wrote TGIF Today God Is First and also birthed many of the things I am doing today. During this season, I discovered a spiritual truth about how most believers experience three distinct phases of their growth toward obedience in their Christian walks.

When we first begin our spiritual journey we often make decisions from convenience. Often, we decide what the outcome is that we want and then make decisions based on the perceived outcome. If it is a positive outcome, then we will make an obedient decision. I call this outcome-based obedience.

However, God desires that each of us live an Obedience-based life. In order to transition us from an outcome-based process to an obedience-based process, he will bring a crisis into our lives.

This crisis is designed to create pain which motivates us to seek Him to alleviate the pain. We have all heard of “fox-hole” Christianity. There is place of obedience for everyone! However, this is not where God desires us to remain.

Ultimately, God desires us to live a life of obedience and intimacy rooted in conviction. We obey His commands from a heart of love and devotion. During the crisis phase we discover the personal love of God in our lives which we had never experienced before. Most of us will get to this phase of our walk with God by first living a life of convenience, then we will go through the crisis that will then lead us into an intimate love relationship with God.

The Christian life can be summed up in one word-love. God’s desire for each of us is to know Him intimately and to love Him with all of our heart. Have you told your Heavenly Father you love Him today?

Knowing the Risk and Reward

Monday, March 13th, 2017

“David asked the men standing near him, ‘What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel?'” (1 Sam 17:26).

Every entrepreneur must determine the risk and reward before entering a venture. This is not the only consideration. We must determine if God is leading us after we consider all factors. We also must consider if the timing is right to proceed.

David was a young shepherd when he was bringing food to his older brothers in the army. He had already killed a lion and a bear during his days as a shepherd. David understood the risk/reward principle. When he heard about Goliath and that no one was willing to fight him he was angry. However, he didn’t just respond out of pure emotion. He asked a very important question. “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel?” He got the answer he was hoping for: “The king will give great wealth to the man who kills him. He will also give him his daughter in marriage and will exempt his father’s family from taxes in Israel.” (1 Sam 17:25).

Do you see the reward? He gets financial wealth, a wife, and no longer has to pay taxes! What more motivation does a young Jewish boy need? Does this take away from the spiritual significance of the story? Absolutely not.

The religious spirit always tries to make the business side of faith evil. Money and profit is not evil. It is the love of money and the pride of life that gets man into trouble. David understood the proper balance of these co-existing to accomplish God’s purposes. To avoid getting into trouble simply ask this question of yourself: “What is the true motive of my heart?” If it does not have the spiritual element balanced with the business element, you may be in trouble. Ask God four questions before you proceed in any venture:

1) Is the Holy Spirit leading me?

2) Is this the time to be involved?

3) Is the risk and reward worth it?

4) Do I have what is necessary to be successful in the
venture with God’s help?

After you’ve asked these questions go about your task with all your heart.

The Cost of Unbelief

Sunday, March 12th, 2017

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Heb 11:5-6).

How is your faith quotient? On a scale of 1 to 10 where would you rank yourself? Everyday, I marvel at the faith most of us exercise without even thinking about it.

We drive our cars 60-70 miles per hour with an oncoming car doing the same with only a white line and six to eight feet separating us. We place our faith that every car will not cross into our lane. We fly on airplanes that take us over oceans,trusting the pilots with our very lives. We ride on thrilling amusement rides that take us several stories into the air and travel fifty to seventy miles per hour down a winding slope. We trust the operators of that ride with our own mortality.

There is a great irony in the fact that we can place our faith in such things but cannot place our faith in the hands of our Creator. God got angry with one of his priests named Zechariah when he questioned his angelic messenger about his wife becoming pregnant with John the Baptist. “Zechariah asked the angel, ‘How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.’ The angel answered, ‘I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their proper time'” (Luke 1:8-20).

Zechariah was struck mute because of his unbelief for nine months until the birth of John the Baptist. What consequence have you suffered from a lack of faith? Jesus is always looking for faith on the earth. Is there an area in your life where you have not been able to trust God? Why not repent of your unbelief and place your faith totally in His hands today.