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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There is, I believe, a process the mind must go through to fully comprehend the Word of God. At some point in our lives – perhaps what we call the age of accountability – every student of God’s Word becomes responsible for navigating this process.

Buy the truth, and do not sell it,
Also wisdom and instruction and understanding.
Proverbs 23:23

Acquiring the truth is a costly proposition – time being the most obvious investment. However, merely showing up for Sunday School, Church Service, or a Bible Study is not enough. Kingdom truth has been given for us to search out (Proverbs 25:2). We are to be faithful stewards of the mysteries of God (1Corinthians 4:1-2). These passages suggest activity – activity on the part of the learner.

Indeed, faithfulness to the truth is not the sole responsibility of preachers and teachers. These individuals are responsible for delivery, but learning does not happen without faithful students who will accept their responsibility to acquire what is being offered.

Furthermore, our rebirth did not include a new mind. God determined to leave us with a mind bent on conformity with the world – a mind that must be renewed. At times, I wonder why He did such a thing – our carnal minds have caused so much trouble. Still, we must trust God in His determination and commit ourselves to participating in the renewal effort.

The carnal mind – or the carnal part of our mind (I am not sure which is more accurate) – is at enmity with God (Romans 8:7). The truth that will make us free is a threat to the mind set on earthly things. Consequently, there is at least a portion of our minds that actively resists our procurement of the truth, doing so at nine critical steps in the acquisition process.

Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

There once was a steward. We’ll call him Stewart. Stewart the steward – catchy name.

Stewart was given responsibility for a vineyard. It wasn’t a big vineyard, but it had potential. The Master of the vineyard, after encouraging Stewart to invest himself wisely, left for a faraway land.

For a time, Stewart enjoyed watching over the vineyard that had been left to his keeping. He cherished and nurtured each vine. He did his best to help every vine produce the best tasting fruit possible. Stewart felt that he was accomplishing something important for the Master.

As He had promised, the Master periodically looked in on Stewart. He always had an encouraging word – a “well done, faithful steward.”

Stewart the steward had done well. Each year, the fruit produced by the Master’s vineyard tasted sweeter than the year before. The fame of the vineyard began to spread, first in the town and then across the country side.

One day, Stewart decided to ask the Master to give him a larger vineyard to manage. The Master, pleased by Stewart’s request, asked His Father. The Master’s Father, without an explanation we are aware of, said, “No”. Forever obedient, the Master passed along His Father’s decision.

Regrettably (and predictably), Stewart the steward was not happy. He knew he could do more for the Master’s kingdom. He knew he could make his vineyard (oops!) the biggest and sweetest in the whole region; maybe even in the whole land.

Looking out over his vineyard, Steward decided to take matters into his own hands. He would grow his vineyard with or without the Master blessing. And that is what he set out to do.

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 »

The church once owned the concept of servant leadership. When I say owned, I mean the church defined and demonstrated what it meant to be a servant leader. Throughout its history, the church transformed societies by leading as servants. We are now witnessing a reversal of this trend.

For its part, the world has done what the world does. As it has with so many Christian concepts, it has pirated and twisted the meaning and application of servant leadership. Make no mistake about it, the world’s definition and demonstration differ greatly from that of the Bible.

The purpose of this article is not to prove that point, but I will offer one example. In the kingdom of God, the ultimate leader genuinely humbled Himself unto death (Philippians 2:8). He subsequently commanded His followers to do the same (John 20:21). In the world, all things are ultimately motivated and constrained by the potential for greater profit.

The contrast between the world’s ways and those of God’s kingdom should not surprise us. Jesus came to establish a kingdom contrary to the world in every way. He is building His church as a counter-culture (i.e., not sub-culture) to the kingdoms of this world. Jesus Christ’s church is His catalyst for transformation.

So, what has happened to us?

Read the rest of this entry »

Thinking “outside the box” is a popular notion in the workplace. Consultants are paid good money to free company executives from the constraints of their day-to-day mindsets.

Most “outside the box” thinking focuses on strategic planning, product development, and operational efficiency. As important as these are, there is another area that promises even greater return: Thinking “outside the box” about relationships. In fact, failing to consider relationships will inhibit – perhaps doom – all other “out of the box” efforts.

So, let’s take a moment and think about it.

Our mind does not willingly explore what we know about someone, beyond the minimal requirements of our relationship with them. There exists a subconscious boundary, based on an unchallenged desire for comfort. We don’t want to discover things we might be responsible for addressing – things that might steal from the time we spend thinking about ourselves.

This is a tragedy, for people are more than we might imagine – even the people we think we know well. Haven’t we been warned not to accept things (or people) on their face value? Does that only apply to things (and people) we are unfamiliar with? Doesn’t that kind of thinking limit our intelligence and response?

Where is human curiosity when you need it? Read the rest of this entry »

As we begin, it is important to note that this is not a thesis on the Trinity. Nor is it intended to be a theological argument. I just have some questions – born out of concern – that I believe God would have us consider.

Growing up in the United Methodist Church, I was taught the Nicene Creed. Every Sunday, we recited the Triune nature of the God-head: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Somehow, I came away an understanding of the Holy Spirit as “Jesus in you”; in essence, that the Holy Spirit was nothing more than the personification of Jesus Christ living inside of me. I am sure this was not done intentionally, but that’s what I came away with.

In those days, the Holy Spirit simply wasn’t a topic of conversation… or teaching.

I have since learned that He (the Holy Spirit) is much, much more. The person and work of the Holy Spirit is unique to Him; and without Him, the followers of Jesus Christ are severely handicapped.

I did not recognize that the Holy Spirit was an equal person of the God-head until I aged into my thirties. I believe it grieved Him. I had to confess, apologize and ask His forgiveness.

The Holy Spirit has since been an intimate Comforter, Teacher and Transformer. His fruit and gifts are much more evident in my life, now that I know Him and His role in my faith journey.

God works all things to the good of those that love Him. My ignorance of the Holy Spirit has made me sensitive to the unique personalities of the God-head – and sensitive to Their absence.

Recently, I have noticed a new kind of replacement theology. It seems to me that God the Father is being replaced in our Christian consciousness by His Son. Are you sensing the same thing?

Read the rest of this entry »

I don’t know who first said, “The Bible is the LORD’s manual for life,” but it is surely as true now as it was then. The LORD has a way for everything. We ignore His ways at our peril.

Most would readily agree that the Bible contains prescribed ways for salvation, sanctification, and all the other big Kingdom processes. Some have recognized His prescription for building the church (Ephesians 4:11-16) and evangelizing the world (John 17:21-23). When we follow the LORD’s ways, He gets involved – sometimes just to show that His ways are the best ways.

The Process

As important as success is to the LORD and man, it should not surprise us to discover that the LORD has prescribed a way of finding and securing success. He has revealed it in Psalm 37. Let’s take a look at it.

1 Do not fret because of evildoers,
Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity.
2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass,
And wither as the green herb.

Step 1: Taking our eyes off the world and focusing them on Jesus. Beholding His glory, we will be transformed into the same likeness, by the Holy Spirit (2Corinthians 3:18). Furthermore, knowing the fate of the worldly, we should fear the desire to become like them (James 4:4).

3 Trust in the LORD, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.

Step 2: The LORD desires and has commanded us to trust Him. To trust in anything or anyone else is idolatry.

Step 3: The LORD has created us to walk in good works (Ephesians 2:10). It is there that we find Him. Those works are determined by Him, and He is glorified in them (Matthew 5:16).

Step 4: The LORD promised “the land” to the Israelites. He has promised something much greater to the followers of Jesus Christ. He has promised us abundant life in His kingdom. We must dwell in Christ and learn to live in the kingdom of heaven. “The kingdom of heaven is like…” It is important to recognize this kingdom is here now.

Read the rest of this entry »

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