Category Archive: Monday Manna

  1. When You Are The Oldest Person In The Room

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    March 6, 2017 – Rick Boxx   Not long ago a business leader, Kevin, mentioned he has found himself adjusting to the fact that he is often the oldest man in the room. Just as he used to look up to his elders, Kevin said he has now become one of those “elders,” and others are looking up to him for guidance. This reality, he admitted, can be both flattering and daunting.

    It is like an athlete joining a professional sports team as a rookie, competing year after year, and one day becoming aware that he or she has become the seasoned pro, the person younger players look up to for leadership and experience. There is the sense of accomplishment that comes with longevity, but also the humbling sense of being the “wise old veteran” expected to set the pace and show the way.

    For those of us who have been in the workplace for many years, insecurities can cause us to doubt we have much to offer, despite achievements and accumulated experience. Younger people typically display much enthusiasm and energy, along with fresh, innovative ideas. However, as we mature both personally and professionally, God may want us to embrace these times when our voices and perspectives, offered with humility, become useful for guiding the younger leaders in our organizations.

    Some societies seem to defer to young, emerging leaders, recognizing they represent the future. And yet, we all would be in error if we failed to utilize the collective wisdom and expertise of older leaders who can draw from proven track records of performance and success. The Bible addresses this in many ways:

    Setting positive examples. Younger people need strong, consistent models of proper behavior, principles and values to use in the workplace. What they observe and learn will help in shaping how they approach their own careers. “Encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned” (Titus 2:6-8).

    Passing on what we have learned and experienced. Life and work provide us with a rich storehouse of knowledge and experiences. We should consider ourselves stewards of these, being eager to share and pass them along to younger team members. “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put into practice. And the God of peace will be with you” (Phil 4:9).

    Establishing an enduring legacy. Part of our legacy, both professionally and personally, is established through the training, equipping and preparing of those that one day will succeed us in our jobs and other meaningful pursuits. “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of man witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others” (2 Timothy 2:2).

    With age and maturity – in the workplace, our homes and communities – comes added responsibility. Before “turning over the keys” to newer colleagues and associates, we should plan to serve as examples and encouragers, guiding them in sound business practices and pointing them toward their own success.

    Copyright 2017, Integrity Resource Center, Inc. Adapted with permission from “Integrity Moments with Rick Boxx,” a commentary on issues of integrity in the workplace from a Christian perspective. To learn more about Integrity Resource Center , visit www.integrityresource.org. His new book, Unconventional Business, provides “Five Keys to Growing a Business God’s Way.” 

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. Where do you rank among those you work with – are you one of the senior staff members, one of the younger ones, or somewhere in between? If you are one of the older ones, what do you think should be expected of you, drawing from your experience? If you are a newer team member, what would you like to receive from those having greater knowledge and expertise?

     

    1. Why do you think suddenly realizing that you are the oldest – or one of the older – members of the workplace team can be unsettling for some people?

     

    1. How can an older, more seasoned worker overcome a sense of insecurity in interacting with younger members of the team?

     

    1. Which of the biblical principles cited seems most meaningful to you – and why? Is it the importance of setting an example, passing along what you have learned, or establishing a strong legacy? Explain your answer.

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages:

    1 Corinthians 4:16-17; 2 Corinthians 3:5; Philippians 3:17; 1 Timothy 1:18-19; 2 Timothy 1:13-14

  2. The Integrity Of Paying Bills On Time

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    February 27, 2017 – Jim Mathis   Years ago, when my wife and I were in the photofinishing business, I received a letter from a high-ranking official at Eastman Kodak. I was a little nervous that Kodak might cancel our account, since we were very small for such a large company. Even though we bought a couple thousand dollars in film, chemicals and paper each month, that was still a very meager amount by Fortune 500 standards.

    I was surprised when I opened the letter because it was the opposite of what I expected. It was a letter of commendation, thanking us for paying our bills on time. In the 15-20 years we had been doing business with The Eastman Kodak Company, we had never missed a discount or were even one day late in paying our bill. That level of integrity deserved a personal letter from a vice president of the company. I was pleased with myself, but even more impressed that someone at Kodak would recognize our financial reliability and take the time to write a letter.

    This came to mind recently as my wife and I were leading a “Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University” class in our home. I have not always been as faithful in paying my bills on time as I was years ago, but in recent months have made a renewed commitment to paying our bills before their due dates.

    All business is built on relationships. People like to do business with people they like, including those who are prompt in meeting their obligations. Having to send “Past Due” notices can quickly sour relationships, and people who are slow to pay soon run out of suppliers. For those wanting to serve as “marketplace ambassadors” for Jesus Christ, as described in 2 Corinthians 5:20, such diligences provides an unspoken witness to the character of the God we follow by faith.

    Here are some related principles the Bible gives to us:
    Faithfulness in obligations, even small ones, qualifies for greater responsibilities. We often must demonstrate we can be relied upon in small matters before we can be entrusted with greater things. “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own? (Luke 16:10-12).
    Paying bills on time provides financial freedom. Prompt payment of obligations minimizes the accumulation of interest, and can pave the way to gain the trust of our suppliers as our companies grow and our need for resources increases. “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender” (Proverbs 22:7)
    Prompt payment will enable us to stand out in the crowd. In an environment when it is so common for businesses to wait until the last possible moment to pay bills, a commitment to pay promptly speaks a lot to the integrity of the organization and its people, whether owners, top executives or employees. Above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear–not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. All you need to say is a simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No.’ Otherwise you will be condemned (James 5:12).

    Jim Mathis is the owner of a photography studio in Overland Park, Kansas, specializing in executive, commercial and theatrical portraits, and operates a school of photography. He formerly was a coffee shop manager and executive director of CBMC in Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri.

     

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. In your experience, how prompt in paying bills are the people and companies that deal with your organization?

     

    1. What is your typical practice in paying your obligations – do you pay them quickly, or do you tend to wait until the absolute due date?

     

    1. Do you agree that the way we pay bills makes a statement about our integrity and dependability? Or do you think other areas are more vital in terms of integrity? Explain your answer.

     

    1. Give an example of a time when you – or someone you know – demonstrated faithfulness in carrying out even menial tasks that over time resulted in being given greater responsibilities and authority.

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages:  Proverbs 10:9, 11:1,3, 20:7,14, 21:5; Colossians 3:17; James 2:14-17

  3. Genuine Humility–What It Is, And Isn’t

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    February 20, 2017 – Robert J. Tamasy  Can you think of someone that’s genuinely humble? How about someone who has been extremely successful – and yet humble nonetheless? Does anyone come to mind?

    Recently I listened to a talk radio show in which the commentators were discussing humility, and how it relates to a person’s success. One speaker offered his view that humility would hinder a person from succeeding. Someone might project a sense of being humble outwardly, he said, but inwardly the individual must maintain arrogance and extreme self-confidence to become truly successful.

    That prompted me to start wondering, is that true? Are humility and success mutually exclusive? Then I remembered the classic business book by Jim Collins, Good to Great, in which he describes what he terms “Level 5 leaders,” people that led organizations that were not merely good, but great. After much research, Collins and his team discovered that among the qualities top leaders possessed, they included both humility and “ferocious resolve, a stoic determination to do whatever needs to be done to make a company great.”

    Contrary to the talk-show speaker’s opinion, leaders who guided their companies from good to great did not have to believe they were the central focus of everything that happened. In fact, Collins wrote, “The good-to-great leaders never wanted to become larger-than-life heroes. They never aspired to be put on a pedestal or become unreachable icons. They were seemingly ordinary people quietly producing extraordinary results.” They also were quick to deflect praise, redirecting it to their teams.

    How does this happen? Today the media spotlight seems to shine brightest on egotistical corporate leaders, sports figures, entertainers and other celebrities. There does not seem to be much of a “market” for the self-effacing, humble type of leader that Collins described in his book. And yet, according to the book of Proverbs, humility is a prized commodity for anyone holding a leadership capacity:

    Leaders that focus on self are flirting with disaster. Throughout history we see examples of self-centered leaders whose decisions were shaped by ambition, pride and greed, leading to their ultimate demise. “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom” (Proverbs 11:2). “Before his downfall a man’s heart is proud, but humility comes before honor” (Proverbs 18:12). 

    Humble leaders recognize the source of their abilities and accomplishments. We all have innate strengths and abilities; we may have worked hard to develop and refine them, but often the talents were there already. Recognizing God as the source is a big step toward becoming a humble, yet successful leader. “The fear of the Lord teaches a man wisdom, and humility comes before honor” (Proverbs 15:33). “Humility and the fear of the Lord bring wealth and honor and life” (Proverbs 22:4).

    Humility enables a leader to seek – and receive – counsel and advice from others. The humble leader understands he or she is not all-knowing, so they are very responsive to the input from others regarding important decisions. “Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him” (Proverbs 26:12).

    © 2017. Robert J. Tamasy is vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit based in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. Bob has written Business at Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace; Tufting Legacies; and coauthored with David A. Stoddard, The Heart of Mentoring. His biweekly blog is: www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com.

     

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. Do you think genuine humility can become an obstacle in a person’s quest for success? Explain your answer.

     

    1. Who would you identify as someone who is truly humble, not just someone who projects the appearance of humility when it seems useful to do so?

     

    1. Why is humility seemingly such a rare virtue, particularly in the business and professional world, where so many are determined to do whatever is necessary to succeed?

     

    1. How is it possible for leaders to effectively communicate a willingness to accept input and feedback without compromising their authority in the eyes of those who follow them?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages:  Proverbs 13:10, 16:5,18, 25:27; Luke 9:23; Philippians 2:3-4

  4. Influence–Or Contamination?

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    February 13, 2017 – Luis Cervino   A few days ago, I went to a paint store to purchase a gallon of paint to match a paint sample that I had taken earlier. The clerk took a gallon can of white paint and began mixing in drops of other colors to achieve the specific paint color that I had requested. He was following the computer specifications that tell the clerks how to blend the correct proportions or amounts of different paint hues necessary to create the desired color.

    Observing this process in action, I began thinking about how something like this happens to us on a daily basis. We all are subject to the influences or contamination from the environment around us, for our good or for our detriment. A little bit of influence, like a few drops of paint, can result in big changes in each one of us. The consequences – positive or negative – can follow us forever. Like the example of the paint that has been blended with other colors, never to return to its former state, influence or contamination from our surroundings can permanently affect us.
    Having this in mind, we can see that it takes only a very little influence from the environment to change us, and that can be good or bad. As many of us have discovered, sometimes painfully, by ourselves, we cannot return to our previous state.
    But how can we go about identifying what are the right and wrong influences? How are we to discern which ones are the best, and which we should avoid? I would suggest two important steps are the power of prayer, for discerning good and bad influences, and repentance, when we realize we have become contaminated by wrong influences. Through prayer we can receive wisdom and guidance from God. We also must follow what the Lord has told us through His Word, the Bible. As we respond in obedience to Him, we will find blessings. Here are suggestions from the Scriptures:
    Recognize the danger of contamination. Everything around us can affect us, for better or worse, so we should seek what benefits us and builds us up. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. That you may prove what the will of God, good, acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2)
    Prayer gives us certainty. As we pray to God we find the conviction that what we present to the Lord must be according to His will. “In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; rather, fear the Lord and shun evil” (Proverbs 3:6-7).
    Through prayer, God calls us to obedience. By obeying God and being tenacious in seeking to serve Him, we find success. “I only ask you to be very strong and courageous to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you. do not turn from it all; only be successful wherever you go” (Joshua 1: 7).
    Prayer and repentance bring restoration. Turning to God and acknowledging when we have fallen to negative influences, we can experience His restoration and healing. “If my people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

    Luis Cervino is a maxillofacial surgeon in Torreon, Coahuila, Mexico, where he resides with his wife, Rocio, and their two sons. He has been a CBMC/CPEC member in Mexico since 1997, and has been translating Monday Manna from English into Spanish since 1999. His translations reach readers in Mexico and many other parts of the world.

     

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. Have you ever had a can of paint tinted, and then found it had been turned into the wrong color? If so, what did you do with it? Did you keep the paint and use it, or did you discard it and purchase a new can of the desired color?

     

    1. Using the paint analogy, how are we to respond when we discover we have become tinted – or tainted – by undesirable influences?

     

    1. How can we go about discerning when we have been influenced in positive ways by the environment around us, and when it has contaminated us in detrimental ways?

     

    1. What about the consequences of yielding to bad influences that contaminate us and our behavior? Is there a way to undo the wrong that has been done? Explain your answer.

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages:  Psalm 18:25-26; Proverbs 27:17; Romans 12:1; Philippians 4:8-9; 2 Timothy 2:2;
    Titus 1:15-16

  5. The Wisdom Of The Front Line

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    February 6, 2017 – Rick Boxx   A friend of mine, Paul, and some investors launched a new business with a promising new medical product. The product concept was excellent, but when the medical community used this new product, it was not effective because of significant design flaws.

    When Paul communicated to his investors that the product needed to be revised, the investors did not accept what their sales people were saying about the design problems. Investors believed the product did not need changes; the sales representatives just had to do a better job of marketing it.

    Ultimately, with the business rapidly nearing failure, Paul made one last effort to convince the investor group to allow him to change the design. With great reluctance, the investors finally agreed, and changes were implemented. To the surprise of the investors – but not to Paul – within three months, sales began to soar, losses were averted, and the medical community had a product they were eager to use.

    This scenario illustrates a not-uncommon problem in the business and professional world. Individuals at the top levels of leadership and management make critical decisions without consulting front-line workers, whether they are the ones involved in manufacturing the product, those who provide the services, or staff assigned sales and marketing responsibilities. When results fail to come as expected, leaders struggle to understand what went wrong.

    Decades ago, significant shifts were started to address this common issue. It began in Japan, where workers were regularly consulted before implementing changes that directly affected their work areas. Interestingly, a catalyst in this change was W. Edwards Deming, an American engineer and management consultant. His many contributions included emphasis on improved service and higher levels of product quality. One of his “14 Points for Management was, “Put everybody in the company to work to accomplish the transformation. The transformation is everybody’s job.” This led to the development of quality circles and participative management, giving everyone opportunity to provide input into systems and process.

    Demings’ approaches were revolutionary for the business world at the time, but his ideas were hardly new. The Bible speaks much about the value of obtaining the advice and perspectives of people with firsthand knowledge. For instance, Proverbs 12:15 teaches, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel.”

    Every day in the workplace we engage in a battle of sorts – a battle against competitors, and a battle to gain the favor of customers and clients. Proverbs 11:14 instructs, “For lack of guidance a nation falls, but many advisors make victory sure.” Another verse similarly observes, “A wise man has great power, and a man of knowledge increases strength; for waging war you need guidance and for victory many advisors” (Proverbs 24:5-6).

    We would be wise never to overlook the wisdom of others in your workplace, especially those closest to your customers, as well as the production processes. They can see – from the front line – things we cannot see from the “ivory tower.”

    Copyright 2017, Integrity Resource Center, Inc. Adapted with permission from “Integrity Moments with Rick Boxx,” a commentary on issues of integrity in the workplace from a Christian perspective. To learn more about Integrity Resource Center, visit www.integrityresource.org. His new book, Unconventional Business, provides “Five Keys to Growing a Business God’s Way.” 

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. Have you ever been in a situation where problems with product design or service were made known, but corporate leadership was unwilling to make necessary changes? What is the cause for such reluctance when flaws are evident?

     

    1. How can we best overcome such unwillingness to accept recommendations for needed changes?

     

    1. Participative management and quality circles now are concepts that have been in use for many years. What has been your experience with them – if at all?

     

    1. The Bible passages cited speak to the importance of seeking out advice and counsel from people with knowledge and perspectives that apply directly to critical circumstances. How can we go about determining who those advisers should be?

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages:  Proverbs 12:15, 15:22, 19:20,27, 20:18, 27:17; Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

  6. What Does It Take To Be Truly Rich?

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    January 30, 2017 – Robert J. Tamasy  A while back, my wife and I visited a restaurant and later filled out a survey about our experience there. In completing the questionnaire, we were automatically entered in a contest with a monetary reward. To our surprise, we were notified we had won and weeks later received a check in the mail. It was not for a huge amount, but we put the unanticipated money to good use.

    This prompted me to wonder what it would take to truly feel rich. What if you won a huge prize in the lottery? Or if you discovered you were an heir to a wealthy relative, and that person had left you a large inheritance? Or if someone unexpectedly showed up at your door and announced you had won a major sweepstakes? Would any of those make you feel rich?

    Many people believe that if somehow they were to come into a huge amount of money, they would become truly rich and all their problems would suddenly be resolved. But would they? We can all recall news accounts about famous, extremely wealthy people who have experienced great difficulties in life despite their riches. Some of the wealthiest nations in the world are beset by great societal problems, despite their affluence. It seems that money is not necessarily the cure-all for serious struggles.

    Someone has said if given a choice between having money or not having money, they would definitely opt for having money. I think we all would agree. But is money, property, or a hefty investment portfolio the source of true riches – or is it something else? And how can we succeed in acquiring these riches? The Bible offers some observations:

    Material wealth – as well as the lack of it – can be stumbling blocks. In terms of money and material possessions, we may struggle with not having what we need. But having too much can also create problems: “…give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God” (Proverbs 30:8-9).

    In the pursuit of tangible wealth, there never is “enough.” There is something about wealth that fails to convince us that we have enough of it – even the richest people will tell you there is always room for “just a little bit more.” “Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless” (Ecclesiastes 5:10). “The leech as two daughters. ‘Give! Give!’ they cry” (Proverbs 30:15).

    Knowing and acting upon the truth is a path to true wealth. Embracing the truth God provides in the Scriptures can enrich more than anything the physical world can offer. “I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches” (Psalm 119:14). 

    Our use of material resources can be a test. Perhaps our attitude toward wealth and how we use what we have can serve as a strong indicator of our character, as well as our reliability as stewards of what has been entrusted to our care. “So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?” (Luke 16:11). 

    © 2017. Robert J. Tamasy is vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit based in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. Bob has written Business at Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace; Tufting Legacies; and coauthored with David A. Stoddard, The Heart of Mentoring, as well as other books. His biweekly blog is: www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com. 

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. From your perspective, what does it require to be truly rich?

     

    1. Who is the wealthiest person you know? What is their attitude toward their wealth – and do you believe their affluence has resulted in achieving real happiness and fulfillment? Why or why not?

     

    1. Why can having too much money become a stumbling block and source of trouble for someone?

     

    1. What do you think of the idea of trusting and acting upon the truths of God as being the source of the greatest riches? Explain your answer.

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages: Proverbs 11:28, 13:7, 15:6, 16:8; Ecclesiastes 2:1-11, 12:13-14; Matthew 6:25-34

  7. Finding Good Ideas When Old Ones Will Not Do

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    January 23, 2017 – Jim Mathis   I had an unusual dream recently. In the dream, I was walking down a country road and it was beginning to get muddy. The farther I walked, the muddier it became. Before long the mud was over my shoes, then up to my knees. After a while I was trudging along in mud up to my waist.

    In my dream, I looked around and saw there were about a dozen people with me; we began to argue about which way to go and how to get out of the mud. Before long a young man came jogging by and asked us why we were all stuck in the mud. I looked at him and noticed he was about 20 feet away on a paved path. I quickly got out of the mud and joined him on the pavement, soon found a hotel where I had been staying, and was back to safety.

    I woke up from the dream before I could learn whether I went back to rescue the other people stuck in the mud or if they followed me to the pavement. However, I immediately recognized the metaphor. We often get stuck in the mud and expend so much energy trying to make some progress that we fail to see that there is a clear path, an easy way of escape, not far off.

    Sometimes this is literally true, even for entire communities and whole towns that have become stuck in the mud. The poorest county and the richest county in my state of Kansas, for example, are connected by a four-lane highway. However, the poor people stuck in the mud cannot see the nearby highway that could take them out, or they are simply afraid of the unknown they might encounter down the road.

    I have heard it said that one of the worst things in the world is a good idea – if we have just one. We become so committed to a single plan, whether at work or in our personal lives, that we fail to see a better way close at hand. I can remember several times where I felt “stuck” or lacking a solution to a problem, and always appreciated having someone close by who shows me a way out. We need to express thanks to those who have been willing to share their knowledge and insights to keep others moving along on a good path. Here are some thoughts from the Bible about how to free ourselves from unproductive ideas:

    It helps to seek fresh viewpoints. Often ideas that keep us stuck are paradigms, described as our unique ways of processing the information available to us. Sometimes the solution is to solicit help from people “outside the paradigm,” that offer a different perspective or suggest different ways of approaching the problem. “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed” (Proverbs 15:22).

    Be open to new ideas. One definition of insanity is continuing to do the same thing the same way over and over, while expecting different results. Trusted advisers can expose faults in our thinking and suggest better, more productive alternatives. “Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise” (Proverbs 19:20).

    There is always a way to escape. Sometimes the “mud” in our lives is a harmful or destructive habit. The Bible calls it “sin.” We might believe we are stuck, with no way of extricating ourselves from it, but we are promised that is not true. “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

    Jim Mathis is the owner of a photography studio in Overland Park, Kansas, specializing in executive, commercial and theatrical portraits, and operates a school of photography. He formerly was a coffee shop manager and executive director of CBMC in Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri.

     

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. Have you ever had a time when, as in Mr. Mathis’s dream, you felt “stuck in the mud,” unable to find a way out? Explain that situation – and how it was resolved.

     

    1. Why do you think some people are inclined to stick with an idea, even when it obviously is not working, when a better alternative presents itself? Can you think of a current example where you work?

     

    1. What are your typical responses at those times when you feel stuck, unable to solve a problem? Do you seek wise counsel and input from others? Are you usually open to receiving and considering different points of view? Explain your answer.

     

    1. Regarding what the Bible calls “sin,” controlling and overwhelming forms of undesirable thinking and action that we might feel unable to escape in our own strength, have you found that God truly can provide a way out, as 1 Corinthians 10:13 states? What could be some difficulties in being willing to take that way out?

     

    NOTE: If you would like to look at or discuss other portions of the Bible that relate to this topic, consider the following brief sampling of passages: Proverbs 11:14, 12:15, 16:9, 19:27, 20:18, 24:5-6; Philippians 4:9; 2; Timothy 3:16-17

  8. Digging Extraordinary Out Of The Ordinary

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    January 16, 2017 – Robert J. Tamasy   Remember how excited you were the day you got your current job? Maybe it represented the realization of a dream. Or the end of a lengthy job search after being out of work. Or finally receiving an anticipated promotion. Or it offered the opportunity to pursue your passion, and utilize skills and gifts in ways you never could before.

    However, now you – or someone you know – have become restless and discontent. The job you once cherished has lost its luster; it has become boring, ordinary, routine. You feel you can no longer tolerate such an uninspiring assignment. The time has come for a change. Isn’t it interesting how a job that once enthused you so much that you could not wait for the start of a new day can become mundane, tedious, even detestable? It is like “falling in love,” becoming so fascinated with someone you cannot think of anything else, and then weeks, months or years later finding yourself wondering, “What was so special about him (or her)?”

    We can grow out of jobs, finding them no longer challenging or as rewarding as they once were. Perhaps we have developed new skills and are ready for greater responsibilities. Circumstances that seemed so appealing at first may have changed. However, sometimes this is simply a case of the newness, the novelty, having worn off, making a once very good job seem like a prison sentence.

    A time-worn adage tells us, “Familiarity breeds contempt.” But sometimes, just because a job has become familiar, that does not mean it is time to leave. As the essayist and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “If the stars should appear but one night every thousand years how man would marvel and adore.” Just as we can lose our sense of wonderment in looking at the stars because they appear each night, we also can “fall out of love” with a job simply because we have become accustomed to it and its demands.

    Even though the excitement may have worn off, we might rediscover the extraordinary in the ordinary. Perhaps God has you where you are for a reason. Here are some thoughts to consider from the Bible:

    Maybe a new attitude, not a new job, is needed. If we could adopt a new perspective on our work, we might be able to approach it with more enthusiasm. “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me…. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me” (Psalm 51:10-12).

    Sticking with it to the finish. We need to maintain a clear sense of our calling, recognizing God has placed us in our present job and may not be ready for us to move on. The apostle Paul wrote, Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus(Philippians 3:13-14).

    Remembering the One we represent. As representatives of Jesus Christ, how we approach and perform our work – even to the very last day – reflects on Him and our faith in Him. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God(2 Corinthians 5:20).

    © 2017. Robert J. Tamasy is vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit based in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. He has written Business at Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace; Tufting Legacies; and coauthored with David A. Stoddard, The Heart of Mentoring. His biweekly blog is: www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com. 

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. What is your attitude toward the job you have right now? Does it excite, motivate and inspire you as it once did? If not, what has changed?

     

    1. Have you ever experienced, as poet Emerson suggested, a loss of enthusiasm – whether for the stars overhead, a job, a person, or something else – simply because of familiarity? If so, what has that experience been like for you?

     

    1. Do you agree that zeal for a job can be rekindled simply by being able to adopt a new attitude or perspective toward it? Why or why not?

     

    1. Can you think of an example of a time when God enabled you to rediscover the extraordinary out of something that had become ordinary and unexciting? Explain your answer.

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages: 1 Chronicles 28:20;
    Proverbs 3:5-6, 16:3; Colossians 3:17, 23-24; Revelation 21:5-6

  9. How To Escape The Drama And The Tension

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    January 9, 2017 – Ken Korkow   Everywhere we look, we see drama, tension, fear, and a new crisis seemingly every minute. Forced to live and work in this oppressive environment, we can either become overwhelmed with anxiety, or take proactive steps to minimize external influences on us. I have chosen the latter. Here is what I am doing:

    First of all, I have determined not to waste energy on things I cannot influence. Feeling helpless can be a very debilitating emotion, so whenever I realize things are beyond my control, I choose not to spend time agonizing over them.

    My second step is actually the flip side of the first. I endeavor to exert influence in areas where I can make a difference, especially when I can see the possibility of an eternal impact.

    Like you, I find myself inundated with information overload – from TV, radio, the Internet, emails, texts, billboards and other sources. It is impossible to process it all. At the same time, we all get many requests for help, many of them very worthwhile. There are lots of valid concerns, as well as countless good and noble causes. But like you, my resources are limited; I cannot do everything, even if I wanted to. So I have applied the two principles above as a way of determining my priorities – what is the best investment of my time, talent, and treasure. As a result, here are some of the decisions I have made:

    For 40 years I have subscribed to the respected business periodical, the Wall Street Journal, but this year stopped. For 30 years we have received the Omaha World Herald every day, but this year we stopped. And a long time ago I stopped watching national television news.

    Please do not get me wrong. I am not an isolationist or a head-in-the-sand person. I have simply come to realize that the “news” is slanted entertainment with a desire for higher viewer ratings so they can sell more advertising – and I no longer want to get sucked into the drama.

    God wants us to be like the “men of Issachar” described in 1 Chronicles 12:32, because they “understood the times and knew what their nation needed to do.”

    So how can I do that? First, I make the effort to spend time in the Bible (I also read several devotionals) each day because, as King Solomon wrote, “there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9). In the process, God through His Spirit guides, protects, and provides for me.

    Next, I check a few Internet news sources twice a day and read periodicals I have found useful for international, national and local news coverage. Very sporadically my wife and I will watch the first 10 minutes of the evening TV news, but again limit that because we do not wish to get caught up in the drama of managed news coverage.

    Throughout each day I strive to remind myself that the Lord is completely in control of everything, so the issue is not “What is happening?” but rather, “How will I respond to what is happening?” I have found that only then, when I am being filled with God’s truth, His Spirit and His love, does the overflow of my life reflect His character.

    Ken Korkow lives in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.A., where he serves as an area director for CBMC. This is adapted from his “Fax of Life” column. Used with permission.

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. Do you share the view that the world around us seems filled with drama, tension and fear, often manipulated, even magnified, by the various sources of information available to us? If so, what has been the impact as you go about living your life and performing your work?

     

    1. Do you sometimes find yourself caught up in agonizing about things over which you have absolutely no influence or control? Why is that – and what do you think should, or can, be done about it?

     

    1. How can a person shift the focus from things they cannot influence to those things over which they can exert positive change, even things of eternal significance?

     

    1. What is your response to the idea of restricting or limiting exposure to information sources that always seem to have an unsettling effect on our lives? Do you think this is a wise choice, or do you think we need to collect as much information as possible to ensure we are fully aware of and current on local, national and world events?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages:  Isaiah 41:10;
    Proverbs 4:26-27, 10:19, 14:8,30, 16:4,21, 17:24, 19:20, 26:24-26

  10. Building A Values-Based Business

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    January 2, 2017 – Rick Boxx   One of the most underestimated tools for any successful business enterprise is the foundation of values upon which it has been built. If a company’s goal is simply to make high profits, to close a lot of sales, or even to deliver huge quantities of products or services, it can lead to problems with the end serving to justify the means.

    For instance, if the objective is to finalize sales, one might be tempted to make whatever promises are needed to accomplish that – even if the promises cannot be met. Or if maximizing profits is the ultimate goal, it could become easy to justify cutting costs, even if that means compromising the quality of the product or services provided.

    However, when a company starts with a clear, well-considered framework of values to guide and govern its operations, chances of both survival and success are increased dramatically. These values essentially define “what we do,” “why we do it,” and “how we do it.”

    Many CEOs that are followers of Jesus Christ share a desire to influence their organization with principles from the Bible – which they understand to be the Word of God – while also being sensitive to those team members who may not embrace the same faith. One of the best ways to shape a company culture in an effective, non-offensive manner is to focus on values, principles of conduct and practice that everyone in the organization can be asked to embrace.

    For instance, a value of placing high priority on customer service is one that few can argue with; we don’t even have to explain this value is based on “doing to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:31). We might embrace the value of doing the best we can at all times, without having to insist that our staff “work at it with al your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men” (Colossians 3:23).

    Since many of the values we commonly endorse come right out of the Bible, formulating our core beliefs can serve as a non-threatening way for communicating God’s standards and values. Developing these foundational values and holding your team accountable to them can give you the opportunity to lead the way to doing business God’s way.

    As the psalmist expressed in Psalms 119:130, “The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.” To achieve success – and then to sustain it – it is important for every key member of the team to be able to understand and explain what the organization stands for. What are the basic values and principles that serve as guideposts for how it conducts business on a day to day basis?

    If you desire to shape the culture of your organization in God’s way, try determining and articulating your core values. Next, model them, and then communicate them consistently to your team. As the apostle Paul wrote, “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice” (Philippians 4:9).

    Copyright 2017, Integrity Resource Center, Inc. Adapted with permission from “Integrity Moments with Rick Boxx,” a commentary on issues of integrity in the workplace from a Christian perspective. To learn more about Integrity Resource Center or to sign up for Rick’s daily Integrity Moments, visit www.integrityresource.org. His new book, Unconventional Business, provides “Five Keys to Growing a Business God’s Way.”

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. Would you consider your company to be a values-based business? Explain your answer.

     

    1. If you do believe your organization is values-based, what are those values? Are they articulated and presented in some way so that everyone has the opportunity to review and understand them as guidelines for everyday operations and practices?

     

    1. Understanding that not everyone in a business may hold to the same spiritual beliefs, would it still be appropriate for them to understand the source of the organization’s values if those are drawn from the Bible? Why or why not?

     

    1. What if an organization has not established a system of values by which to govern its operations – how do you think they could begin to work toward becoming a values-based business? Or do you think that if it has been operating without an agreed-upon statement of values, there is no need at this point to change that?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages:
    Proverbs 11:1, 14:5, 15:33, 20:14, 29:4; Philippians 4:8, 2 Timothy 2:2

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