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205790488_b590fe6fc4_m.jpgGod is interested in every aspect of our lives. Consequently, planning God’s way includes the spiritual, personal/family and vocation portions of our lives. This is sometimes called whole life planning, or balanced life planning.

Furthermore, for Kingdom people, planning God’s way must be done in the context of His ultimate purposes. These are the restoration of His reign, habitation and intimacy with His children. This is all review to make the following point.

As we look back on the accomplishments and disappointments of 2014, it is important to review what has happened in the same holistic way that we planned. It would be easy to focus on one area or another. The squeaky wheel gets the grease, as they say.

For many of us, failure and disappointment tend to get an inordinate amount of our attention. If we are not intentional, we may miss what God has done and the opportunity to praise Him for it. We may become trapped in regret and sorrow, failing to see how God has positioned us for the future.

God works all things to the good of those that love Him, to those that are called to His purpose. The activities of our past, and God’s involvement in them, help us discern the path He desires for the coming season. Even when He is doing an entirely new thing, our perspective of the past can either blind us to the possibilities of the future, or encourage, edify and equip us for the adventure of a new year.

Marketplace Ministry Tip: I hope and pray that you consider all that God has allowed in your life in 2014 – the good and the bad; and that you will consider it in the context of His eternal purposes for your whole life, and for those in your spheres of influence. Be intentional to involve God and others in your review. He speaks in community.

Humbly yours and forever His,

 

Doubled chaos by PokornyBusiness is built and sustain on relationships. Good hires, synergistic partnerships, mutually beneficial deals/sales. Discernment is needed – from two perspectives. The most commonly understood is our discernment of the other person’s façade. We all have them – consciously or subconsciously. Few are totally transparent.

Less understood is affect of our own paradigms: The way we view the world and the people in it. Upbringing, fears (real and false), preferences, personality and a dozen other factors affect our initial impressions of other people. Failure to correct faults in our filter make understanding the value (or danger) of someone else more difficult.

Here’s a good place to start:

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting. Psalms 139:23-24

Marketplace Ministry Tip: The end of the year is a good time to assess your business plan, your resources, etc. How about your relationship filter? Could you use a little adjustment in the way to view other people? Ask God for an in depth yearend review.

Share the truth; it will make someone free.

Humbly yours and forever His,

Man in AnguishI have been meaning to write an article on the Western church’s silence towards the massacre of our brothers and sisters around the world.  Then I came across this article and realized that I don’t need to recreate what has been so powerfully articulated.

I will add that we are to remember them as if chained with them (Hebrews 13:3).  How does this happen?  You might start with a subscription to Voice of the Martyrs; or a regular visit to their prayer website.

There is much our persecuted brothers and sisters have to teach us; and much we need to learn in preparation for the days ahead.  First, we must have our hearts softened to receive God’s word on suffering.  Please don’t  shrink back from this because it is hard or challenging.  Learn how to remember them; learn how to suffer.

Humbly yours and His forever,

CompassDoes the grace of God empower any activity or endeavor that is not His will?

Does His will ever lack the grace to accomplish what He intends?

As leaders in the Marketplace, it is important to determine, resolve and reckon what you believe about these two questions. Access to His grace for your next endeavor depends on it.  It is a matter of success or failure – even glorious victory or eternal destruction.

Let’s start with the first. If a person is self determined in what He does – including what He does “for God” – then that person’s answer is “yes, God does empower activity outside His will.” More likely, that person is not concerned with God empowering the work they have set out to accomplish. This sounds quite foolish, particularly when we consider the potential outcome.

Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.  Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’  And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ Matthew 7:21-23

Only those that do the Father’s will shall enter the kingdom of heaven! Wow!! We can do any number of wonderful things in Jesus’ name and still be labeled, by Him, as practitioners of lawlessness. What a tragic surprise awaits those that pursue supernatural work outside of the Father’s will!!

This begs another question: Where did these lawless ones get the power to prophesy, cast out demons and do many wonders?

For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work… The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 2Thessalonians 2:7, 9-10

Whoa! Even though the lawless one has not been revealed, “the mystery of lawlessness is already at work”. There is a grave warning here: It possible to do supernatural work outside of the Father’s will because there is another (i.e., Satan) willing to give us power; for the work in His power will lead to the destruction of many.

Let me ask you again: Is this possible for those that call Jesus, “Lord, Lord”? Could we be so deceived? Read the rest of this entry »

Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. 1Corinthians 16:13

Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving… Colossians 4:2

As I’ve written in the past, God has blessed me with cycling. It is a threefold blessing. The most obvious blessing is the exercise. Cycling is one of the better choices for maintaining a healthy life. Like swimming, it puts very little stress on your joints and is great for your cardiovascular system. Consequently, cycling is something most can do well into their latter years.

Another blessing of cycling: I really enjoy it. You can cover more ground and see more stuff on a bicycle than you can running or swimming. There is a unique feeling of freedom when you are on a bike. If you are going to sweat, then why not enjoy doing it.

The greatest blessing I get from cycling is the communion I have with God. He is my regular cycling partner. He hears my prayer requests, gives me advice, and occasionally corrects me on our rides. I can’t tell you how many ideas He has given me while cycling. Every once in awhile, He teaches me a spiritual (cycling) lesson. Here’s one I think will edify and encourage you.

I have recently noticed that when I am pushing through a challenging section of a ride, my concentration shifts from the conversation to the obstacle. Halfway up the hill, I suddenly realize that I dropped my prayer, or let go of the scripture God was speaking to me about. Not a big deal – I normally remember where we were – but there is a lesson or two in it.

Maintaining form, cadence and breathing tempo must be second nature if I am going to make it to the top of the hill. There is simply no time or energy for these things when my mind is focused on getting my body to do something it doesn’t want to do. Form, cadence and breathing are cycling disciplines that the wise cyclist will work to refine when the going is not so tough.

Similarly, it occurs to me that we cannot wait until life gets hard to begin practicing the necessary spiritual disciplines (e.g., prayer, Bible study, beholding the glory of the Lord). These must become our very nature if we hope to thrive on the hills of life. I hope you are practicing now; for difficult days are coming soon.

The second lesson I learned relates to my communion with God during the challenging portions of my ride. As I mentioned, conversations are easily lost; as are my prayer requests for others. This may not be the case for you, but I am easily distracted.

Conversely, the hills are easier to tackle when I am praising or thanking God. Somehow I am able to focus on these mental activities; and they take my mind off the pain in my legs and lungs. Perhaps this applies as well to our times of spiritual trial and tribulation. What do you think?

 

God bless you with the strength and courage to face your trials and tribulations with practice discipline and proper focus. He will be with you; and you will be blessed.

 

Humbly yours and His forever,

Wedding Supper of the LambGod has called every leader in the Marketplace to an adventure. That adventure leads to an assignment – an assignment where the life of Jesus Christ will so shine that others will see the good work and glorify our Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16; John 1:4). That assignment is the work of God that the word of God will prepare the Marketplace Leader to walk in (Ephesians 2:10). It will include the Great Commission – making disciples – and it will produce transformation in people and communities.

As we learned in The Map Maker, we don’t get to determine our adventure. Well, we can; but, in doing so, we may be pursuing an adventure that does not include God; and an assignment that will be unfruitful. This is one of the most tragic mistakes that followers of Jesus make: They fail to follow.

So, how does a follower of Jesus Christ discover the adventure and assignment God has prepared for them? It all begins – the adventure leading to the assignment – with the revelation of their heart’s desire.

That’s right; there is a desire in the heart of every Marketplace Leader for this season of their life. It is a desire that God has placed there, even before time began. It is a desire that He shares – a heart-tie with God. It is a desire that He has promised to give.

Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

So, how do we discern the desire of our heart? We search it out. Read the rest of this entry »

Albert EinsteinInsanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Albert Einstein, Nobel Physicist

Is it beginning to feel like you and your business are in a rut? Is the market passing you by? Well, maybe you are in a rut; and maybe you are being passed. If so, it is high time you checked your paradigm.

What’s a paradigm? Well, it’s a pattern or model of something – like a sales process, or the way you look at the world. In a rapidly changing world, paradigms can be dangerous. They lock us into the way things have always been done. They oppress the creativity that got us here. Eventually, they box us out of the market.

Some paradigms are resilient, and should be; but even the most resilient paradigms should be challenged from time to time. Adjusting your paradigms will challenge your trust in God and your ability to hear Him… and that’s a good thing. Remember, He loves you and He has an adventurous plan for you.

Marketplace Ministry Tip: Take the time this month to attend a conference, read a book, or research a topic on the internet that will challenge your paradigms. Use these as communication tools with God – your CEO. Surrender to His will and allow Him to free you from the paradigms that are oppressing your creativity. Contact me, at rob@inlightconsulting.com, if I can help you in this regard.

Your servant and His forever,

A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way. John Maxwell, Leadership Author, Speaker, and Pastor

Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room. Jeff Bezos, Internet Entrepreneur, Amazon.com

Identity is an important thing – whether it is your personal identity, or that of your company. Sadly, most of us have allowed the world to define our identity. From well-intentioned parents, teachers and pastors, to mean-spirited oppressors, controllers and bullies, we have heard and accepted an identity that is much lower than our Creator intends. Of course, Satan is behind much of this; coercing us to settle for less.

We have been deceived about our identity in God’s story. Like the man in James epistle, we have forgotten who we are. This is particularly important for Marketkplace Leaders, for without a true sense of identity, we are additionally deceived about our authority and influence. The people God has called to lead the implementation of His plans are inadequately prepared.

Consequently, the church in America is losing her identity; more so than at any other time in history. Don’t believe me? When was the last time you saw the royal priesthood in action? How about a temple of God being, well, a temple of God? Smelled the aroma of Christ lately? Where are the “greater than” works that Christ promised for those who believe?

Finding and keeping our identity is one of most challenging and critical battles we will face. Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy had no idea of their importance in the battle for Narnia until they discovered that they were the Kings and Queens. Like them, it is time we discovered who we are – not for ourselves, but for God’s glory and for His kingdom. Experiencing joy and power in His plan for this season is dependent on our participation in the full identity and influence we have been assigned.

Marketplace Ministry Tip: Take time to think outside the box about your identity. For example, what was Jesus thinking about you and your company when He said that those who believe in Him would do greater things than He did? What does it mean to be ambassador, king and priest? Have you been given a special identity for God’s kingdom? Refuse to settle for anything less. Click here for more encouragement and teaching on this subject. Contact me, at rob@inlightconsulting.com, for more guidance in the search for your identity.

Your servant and His forever,

Sometimes, you just don’t have it. I went out riding today… and I just didn’t have it. I didn’t have my normal energy level. It just wasn’t there. Two days ago I put in a big effort; not on my bike, but working in the yard. Consequently, I was tired from the start of my ride and it didn’t take long for me to realize that nothing was going to change the way I felt. I just didn’t have it.

What was I to do? Turn around and head back home? No way! I would have to be ill for that to happen – ill enough to call someone to come get me. Once I start a ride, I am not turning around. I like riding that much. It’s my exercise. It’s my relaxation. Most importantly, it’s always a time with God (check out Don’t Ride Alone for more on that topic). He teaches me things when I ride with Him.

So, no turning around; I just had to deal with not having it. I considered my options. I could have ignored the feeling; but “fake it ’til you make it” doesn’t really work on the hills around my house. I could have gobbled down a few energy gels… then called someone to come get me when I got seriously sick to my stomach. I could have gritted my teeth and fought through the feeling, forcing myself to keep up my normal exertion level. I’ve learned, however, that this is only subtly different than the ignorance tactic; and it never ends well.

Fortunately, I have experienced the “just don’t have it” feeling before. If you exercise (or work in your yard) regularly, I am sure you have felt it, too. Like you, I have tried a few unsuccessful strategies and learned from those mistakes. Along the way, I have discovered that the only way to enjoy the ride (or the yard work) is to use what energy I have. Read the rest of this entry »

Military Salute from iStockAs we have said many times, some of the greatest hope for the church can be found in the Marketplace. This is perhaps most true in regards to the issue of sectarianism – one of the greatest blights of the church, all over the world. James Fenimore Cooper said it well in The American Democrat (1838):

“In America the taint of sectarianism lies broad upon the land. Not content with acknowledging the supremacy as the Diety, and with erecting temples in his honor, where all can bow down with reverence, the pride and vanity of human reason enter into and pollute our worship, and the houses that should be of God and for God, alone, where he is to be honored with submissive faith, are too often merely schools of metaphysical and useless distinctions. The nation is sectarian, rather than Christian.”

Wow! Is that a shot across the bow, or what?  Just what is this sectarianism, of which we are being accused?

Sectarianism: Bigotry, discrimination, or hatred arising from attaching importance to perceived differences between subdivisions within a group, such as between different denominations of a religion. http://www.wikepedia.org

Pretty strong language? Too strong? Let see what Paul had to say.

1 And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? 1Corinthians 3:1-3

For Paul, sectarianism was carnal – of the flesh. In other words, a sin; even a sin worth including with idolatry, sorcery and murder:

19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21

“…those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” More strong language; language not easily dismissed.

Why did Paul speak so strongly again sectarianism? Because he knew – he even witnessed, as we do – the damage it can cause. He knew that the enemy would use it to thwart God’s purposes and plans. Paul knew that sectarianism could be deadly. Read the rest of this entry »

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