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It is common practice for a struggling company to call in a consultant – someone that can help the management team identify underlying problems and make improvement recommendations. While Senior Managers tend to focus on the standard financial reports (e.g., the balance sheet and income statement), the wise consultant knows that financial “struggling” is most often a symptom of poorly managed and measured activities further up the production lifecycle.

And so, they go looking. What they usually find are areas of the company that are trying to manage themselves using production and performance measurements that no longer match the vision and values of the company.

Take the church for example. I mean the church that Jesus Christ is building. That church has come upon hard times – particularly in North America and Europe. We have gotten to the point where measurements are no longer needed to recognize our struggles. The end product is certainly not up to the Master’s standards.

There are at least two reasons the Western church is struggling. First, we are measuring the wrong things. Secondly, we are not doing things God’s way. Put those together and we can say that the Western church is failing to measure itself in the way God has prescribed.

So, where do we start measuring in the right way? Scripture makes it clear that the shepherds will be held responsible for the health of their flocks (Hebrews 13:17). If I was the Master’s consultant, that is where I would begin.

Sometimes it is hard to point out the right way to do something without first identifying what’s being done wrong. In this case, I am relieved that such an approach is not necessary. Why is this? Because whatever way is not God’s way is the wrong way – and get this – no matter how successful that way may appear.

But who am I to judge? Exactly! Judgment is not my intent, nor is it my responsibility. I’m just the consultant. We are called to judge ourselves… and for good reasons.

For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world. 1Corinthians 11:31-32

If we will not judge ourselves, the Lord will judge us. In either case, the chastening and correction are for our good and the good of our ministries. No one is perfect. The wise leader makes an assessment on a regular basis. Read the rest of this entry »

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If we keep doing the same thing, we will continue to achieve the same results. The crises within the church will continue. The societal chaos that is eroding our footing – and infecting our spiritual health – will continue. We must quickly find God’s way through and out of the crisis and chaos (and I don’t mean the rapture).

Somewhere, somehow, we took a wrong turn. When this happens during a road trip or hike, our inclination is to forge on ahead while attempting to find our way back to the main path. Sometimes this works. Most times, we discover that it would have been better to turnaround and backtrack to the where and how we first got lost.

With that in mind, I want to recommend a couple of resources. In doing so, I need to be clear: I am not suggesting either one as a program – something to go do. You will get the most out of these resources if you use them as conversation starters with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Ask the Father, “What is your will here?” Ask the Son, “How do these fit into your church building plan?” Ask the Holy Spirit, “What parts of this are for the renewal of my mind?”

The subtitle for The Benedict Option is “A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation”. This is our reality, and we desperately need a strategy. The Benedict Option will raise your awareness and give you some good points of conversation with the LORD.

Just this morning, I came across a concise and thought-provoking article on church worship. You can access it here. As you read, keep in mind that what matters is what God says. Is this God’s truth? If so, how does it line up with the way we have been worshipping Him? Again, use this for conversation with Him.

In closing, let me encourage you: These are must reads for every workplace leader. We are called to use our influence to advance the kingdom of God. That includes returning to the foundations upon which Christ will build His church. I entreat you to prayerfully, grace-fully, and intentionally use your influence to restore your church fellowship. Be God’s instrument of righteousness.

Humbly yours and forever His,

Rob

This article is a bit of a walkabout. It reminds me of a tourist group out for a sight-seeing adventure. Not every sight will be for everyone, but each one will find something here to encourage, edify and equip them for the good work we have all been created to walk in (Ephesians 2:10).

Every Jesus follower is responsible to be (or become) a faithful steward of God’s mysteries (1Corinthians 4:1-2). So why do we so often play the mystery card to avoid our responsibility as stewards? For example, the fact that we have been made one in Christ Jesus is a mystery (Galatians 3:28). We would rather keep it that way than commit to the hard work of agreeing with Jesus’s prayer for the manifestation of that reality (John 17:23). And another: The Bible suggests that church discipline is necessary for strong healthy fellowships. Rather than search out its proper application, most church leaders treat it as a mystery – avoiding it altogether for fear of running off the wrong people.

God’s expects us to steward His mysteries for the advancement of His kingdom. Playing the mystery card for our own motives (e.g., to avoid difficult responsibilities, or excuse error in our teaching) is rebellion; many times unintended, but nevertheless adversarial to the purposes of God.

We must search out the mysteries of God. To the best of our ability? Yes, and no. With the help of others? Again, yes and no. Under the anointing and guidance of the Holy Spirit? Yes and yes.

With the anointing and guidance of the Holy Spirit, we search out the mysteries of God with our whole heart and the help of others – the purpose of our search being His glory and the advancement of His kingdom.

Let’s practice our searching with Ephesians 6:10:

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.

Paul is encouraging us to be strong in two distinct ways. We are to be strong in the Lord, and we are to be strong in the power of His might. In my humble opinion, this is the most power-filled verse in the entire Bible. Three of God’s “power” words are included:

  1. Be strong (endynamoō): The root is dynamis – the explosive power of God.
  2. Power (kratos): The dominion of God – the power of His authority to reign.
  3. Might (ischys): The ability and force of God – to accomplish what He intends.

This is what Paul is talking about when he goes on to encourage us to put on the whole armor of God. This is what it takes to stand against the wiles of the devil. Get your head around that!

As leaders in the Workplace – that includes all segments (business, religion, education, government, etc.) – we are responsible for leading others into this kind of radical life. Note carefully: This is the normal Christian life!

Read the rest of this entry »

At inLight Consulting, our mission is to encourage, edify, and equip Workplace Leaders to become disciple makers and transformation agents.

Isaiah 58:13-14 contains some incredible promises.  I read it every Sunday morning.  Check it out and consider the following:

The way we remember and honor the Sabbath Day is a shadow of our appreciation for the LORD’s Sabbath Rest.  Do we call it a delight and honor Him in it?  On that day, do we do our own ways, find our own pleasures, and speak our own words?  Is the Sabbath Day still important to us?

Remembering the Sabbath Day was important enough to the LORD to include it in the Ten Commandments. Many who read this will be quick to say, “But Rob, we are no longer under the Law.”

Of course, of course!  Praise God for the work of the Lord of the Sabbath! We walk in liberty. However, we are not free to do as we please. We are bondservants. Our pleasure should be His.

Let’s be careful not to confuse ourselves. Would we say that the LORD is no longer concerned with murder, adultery and worshipping other gods? Of course not! The Ten Commandments are still important to the LORD.

This raises some interesting questions. Could it be that our neglect of one commandment has led to back-sliding with the others? Is it possible that our failure to honor the Sabbath Day inhibits our pro-life message? Are we hypocrites to push for movies without the vain use of God’s name? 

What must our children be thinking?

Furthermore, we must recognize and acknowledge that this is more than a practical, observable issue. As with all things important to God, the spiritual ramifications of this are much more significant. 

What must the LORD be thinking?

Read the rest of this entry »

It has been some time since I last presented the following. I encourage you to consider it prayerfully – even if it seems like an obvious truth. Ask the Father to give greater meaning to it, for you and those you love.

Much of our thinking is subconscious (i.e., we are not conscious of it). Our minds filter input through a paradigm that has been forming since before our birth. We should be suspicious of the way we think.

It is ironic that though life is a process, we give so much attention to events. It takes more mental energy to think of the process. Life is harder to consider than the events of birth, birthdays, graduation, death, and the multitude of events that lie in between.

But, it is the “in between” that matters most – the process of life that connects and blankets the events of our lives.

Generally speaking, the church has fallen victim to the same event-orientation – most damagingly in regards to salvation. Many think of salvation as the initial event – justification, reconciliation, and rebirth. Some would add the end – glorification. It seems very few talk about the in between; and I don’t mean sanctification – that is a different process altogether.

So, let’s look at the evidence of salvation as a process.

Read the rest of this entry »

And Jesus said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” Matthew 24:2-3

In response to Jesus’ declaration that the Temple would be destroyed, His disciples asked three questions:

  1. When will this happen?
  2. What will be the sign of Your coming?
  3. What will be the sign of the end of the age?

Jesus could have answered the first of these questions directly (i.e., in about 40 years). He chose not to. Well, actually, His Father chose not to.

But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. Matthew 24:36

Furthermore, notice that the disciples did not ask “when” in regard to His coming, nor the end of the age. Somehow, they knew better.

So, why has this become our focus?

Is the time and energy we spend trying to determine the day and hour a distraction from more important matters? I believe it is.  In fact, Jesus has promised that the day and hour we come to expect will not be accurate.

Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. Matthew 24:44

Jesus could have quickly, and succinctly, answered all three of the disciple’s questions. Instead, He used their questions to raise more important matters. There was something much more important that He wanted them (and us) to understand, believe and obey.

And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you.” Matthew 24:4

But he who endures to the end shall be saved. Matthew 24:13

Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour
your Lord is coming.
Matthew 24:42

Take heed, endure and watch; for though you do not know the day or the hour, tribulation – and then judgment – is coming.

The primary purpose of this discourse is the disciple’s preparation. God help us to discover the same passion for those in our spheres of influence.

Humbly yours and forever His,

Rob

Mountain Climbers_1Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2

The Western church is in desperate need of saints that will run with endurance. A cloud of witnesses is looking on; waiting with anticipation for the end of the race. Will they see us finish well?

Here on earth, people need more than instruction in running. They need more than stories about those that are running well. They need to see those in positions of influence running with endurance, as the followers of Jesus Christ. So:

“Let us lay aside every weight”. God’s people are to be hastening the coming of the day of God (2Peter 3:12)! What is slowing you down? What is slowing down those in your spheres of influence? I confess that for me it is the world’s entertainment. However harmless it seems, the world’s entertainment distracts us from things above (Colossians 3:2).

“… and the sin which so easily ensnares us.” Did you know that there is a narrow gate through which we must strive to enter the kingdom of heaven (Luke 13:24)? Jesus spoke of this as a matter of our salvation. What is preventing you from entering through the narrow gate? Ask the Sovereign Judge to search you (Psalms 139:23-24); then, exercise 1John 1:9 for your deliverance. Read the rest of this entry »

runner-stretchingA couple of weeks ago, I posted a poem – Sprint, Sprint, Sprint. Since then, I have had some additional thoughts about running the race to win; and I have received some great feedback. What follows is a mixture of those.

Most misunderstood the meaning of “sprint”. They thought it referred to the work of ministry – doing more of the good works we have been called to walk in. There is some of that in the meaning, but it is secondary. The primary meaning is “running after God”. This does not necessarily require additional work, but our being more intentional about the work we have been given.

It has also occurred to me that God may not be calling us to sprint all the time.  There are seasons for every purpose. Waiting on God and following after Him with intensity are both necessary for the one racing to win.

In any event, the question is still a good one: When did Paul start sprinting? Most of us (me included) have a mindset to run the race as if we are waiting for God to ring the bell for the last lap.  Our default intensity is jogging. It seems to me that Paul ran the race in a sprint; only easing up when instructed to do so.

Speaking of the bell for the last lap: How many of us have already heard the bell, only to dismiss it as coming from our TV or cell phone? Seriously, we are very distracted people. We would certainly be better racers if we removed a few distractions from our lives.

Finally, I wonder how many times Paul thought he just couldn’t sprint another second, only to find strength in his weakness. For what it’s worth, that is where I want to be; and God seems to be giving me the opportunity for it. I trust that He is working in me to will and do to His good pleasure.

Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass.
He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light,
And your justice as the noonday.
Psalms 37:5-6

Humbly yours and forever His,

Let me begin by saying that I am not proposing an answer to this question. I honestly want to know what Christians mean when they ask me to pray for America. What do they mean when they pray for America?

You may be wondering why this is difficult for me. I suspect it has to do with the definition of terms. I suspect America does not mean the same thing to everyone. Furthermore, I suspect – if you are one of the “pray for America” folks – the following will not sit well with you.

Please don’t dismiss me. I am just looking for answers.

Did you know that America was the number one producer of pornography in the world; and the number one benefactor of the sex slave trade? America also leads the world in the number of incarcerated individuals; a strong indication that America is number one in the practice of lawlessness.

It may sound like I have answered my own question: America needs prayer because America is in grave danger of going the way of many kingdoms before her. And we can’t have that; right? We love America.

Honestly, if that was all there was, I wouldn’t be asking the question. Here’s another: Why do we love America so much that we would pray for her – and be offended when others question why? Read the rest of this entry »

DSC_0731There was a time when fasting was a part of my Christian walk. Though profitable for a time, it became a religious thing; so I put it down for a season – until I could find God’s heart in it. Recently, the Lord put it back on my mind and stirred the desire in my heart for the fast that pleases Him.

The following is a brief summary of what I have come to understand about “The True Fast” of Isaiah 58. I hope you will use it as a launching point for your own exploration. To help in your discovery, keep in mind that the precepts of the Old Covenant are often examples of the New. In this case, the true fast is a foreshadowing of the fasted lifestyle.

Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:25-26

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. Matthew 5:6

“The fasted lifestyle is about desire and wholeheartedness, about setting aside our physical hunger for things, as we commit wholeheartedly to grow in intimacy with Jesus.” Mike Bickle; Director of the International House of Prayer, Kansas City

The True Fast

Begin this study by reading Isaiah 58, in full. Then, consider the following thoughts as you reread each verse:

Verse 1: This is an important message. Give it your full attention. It is about the sins of God’s people.

Verse 2: Seeking to know God’s ways – even daily – is not enough. Righteousness and obedience are required. Jesus said much the same thing at the conclusion of His Sermon on the Mount:

Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall. Matthew 5:24-27

Verse 3 – 5: God is saying to His people, “What are you complaining about? What have you done for others; for the least of these? The fast I have chosen is not about you – what you do for, or to, yourself. Your fasting produces something that I will not bear.”

The issue of the fast is not the fast itself, but what the fast produces. This is an important paradigm shift. Fasting for self is not what God is after. There are more important things at stake. Read the rest of this entry »

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