Category Archive: Monday Manna

  1. Repairing, Restoring And Improving The Broken

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    September 12, 2016 – Jim Mathis  In my photo restoration business, I often see photographs that are stained, faded, or even torn into pieces. My job is to carefully put the pieces back together, remove stains and blemishes, and restore faded colors.

    In the process I use a variety of tools. Sometimes the tools are obvious, such as soap and water and a cotton swab. Other times I use highly sophisticated computer graphics software, such as Adobe Photoshop, to fill in cracks or even replace pieces that are missing.

    One of my great pleasures – professionally and personally – is being able to present to a customer a restored image that they believed was lost, beyond repair, whether of a loved one or a cherished memory.

    There is a metaphor here for everyday life, because often it is not just photos that are damaged. People’s lives are damaged as well, sometimes very badly. In one respect or another, this is true for all of us. Fortunately, we have a skilled craftsman named Jesus, who can examine the pieces of our lives, see what is damaged, discover what is faded or has been abused, and even find what is missing in our lives. Then, like a skilled photographic specialist, He can carefully go about putting things back as good as new.

    Using specialized software, I can work to make just about any photograph even better than new, invariably better than the client expected. I work meticulously so that which was neglected, damaged, or torn can become superior to the original. I like to tell my clients that not only can I repair damaged photographs, but I also can improve them, even if they didn’t know there was anything wrong.

    In a far more profound, eternal way, every day God is doing the same type of work in our lives through His Son, Jesus Christ. He makes it His business to take lives that are damaged, broken, faded, or even have pieces missing, and put them back together, better than before.

    God delights in this restoration and renewal process. He declares this in the Old Testament of the Bible. “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?…” (Isaiah 43:19). Then, as our relationship with Him grows, we are invited to experience a divine, everlasting transformation process: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” (Romans 12:2). As we focus on God and the Scriptures, we can become new people.

    Instead of cotton swabs, airbrushes and computer software, God uses love, forgiveness and reconciliation as His tools for transformation.

    Admittedly, I as a photo professional do not go around fixing every photo that I see. And God does not automatically repair broken lives. Each of my clients knows they have a problem photo, which is why they bring it to me to be improved. Once they have reached out to me, I do everything I can to solve their problem. In much the same way, God wants us to come to Him and admit that we are ready for the help that only He can give.

    This is why Jesus said, Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened…” (Luke 11:9). Just as my customers bring their needs to me, we must bring ourselves to God.

    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 executive director of CBMC in Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri.

     

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. Have you ever had or seen an old or damaged photo that an expert was able to restore to its original quality, or even better than the original? What was your reaction to that process?

     

    1. Do you agree with the analogy between the process of restoring and improving old photos with the spiritual process of transforming lives that have been broken or damaged in various ways through their journey through life? Why or why not?

     

    1. Why do you think that not everyone going through difficulties or dealing with a troubled life turns to God for help?

     

    1. Can you think of a time when God was doing something like that in your life? Perhaps He is making some much-needed repairs and changes in your life right now? If so, what is that process like in your personal experience?

     

    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: Romans 6:5-14; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21; Galatians 2:20; Philippians 4:4-9; 1 Peter 1:3-4

  2. Three Paradoxes of Business

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    September 5, 2016 – Rick Boxx  Have you ever taken time to examine your personal worldview and factors that have formed it? Our worldviews are critical since they shape the ways we think about the world and how we respond to it. In that light, many commonly held views on business run counter to the biblical worldview, and we would be wise to understand how these perspectives conflict. Here are a few of them:

    Profit. In the 1980s, noted economist Milton Friedman proclaimed, “the only purpose for business is profit.” Many leaders embraced Friedman’s view, justifying their pursuit of enhanced profits at all costs. In 1987, this worldview went on public display in the theatrical film, “Wall Street.” In one pivotal scene, at the same time the actual stock market was crashing, largely due to greed, Michael Douglas, playing the film role of Gordon Gecko, ironically declares, “Greed is good!” Unfortunately, many still believe this mantra, despite much evidence that such thinking is wrong.

    The paradox arises when we consider what the Bible says. For instance, 1 Corinthians 10:31 teaches, “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” This is saying that God desires our businesses – our work – to glorify Him, not just acquire profits. Which view have you chosen?

    Partnership. Jim had an exciting new business idea but it required a significant sum of start-up money. An acquaintance offered to invest the necessary funds and become Jim’s equal partner. Although Jim’s wife cautioned her husband against being “unequally yoked” with this man who did not share the same beliefs and values, Jim charged ahead anyway, eager to obtain the financing he needed.

    The story came to a short-lived, sad conclusion one year later when Jim’s partner forced him out of the business due to his disdain for his spiritual beliefs. We see a similar dilemma in 2 Chronicles 20:37 after Jehoshaphat, the king of Israel, partnered with a wicked king to build ships. God destroyed the ships and sent a prophet to tell Jehoshaphat, “Because you have allied yourself with Ahaziah, the Lord has destroyed your works.” 

    Position. The business and professional world says we can choose whomever we want to be our partners. God, however, owns everything according to the Scriptures. If that is true, should He have the right to choose the people with whom we partner – and how we work with them?

    When I was young, climbing the corporate ladder, my mindset was focused on moving higher and higher so more people would serve me. Then one day an experience rocked that worldview!

    The president of the bank I was working for asked all of the employees to drive their cars around back because he was going to wash their cars as an act of service to the staff. When in disbelief I challenged his unconventional approach, my boss smiled knowingly and reminded me Jesus served His disciples when He humbly washed their feet.

    Jesus said in Luke 22:26, “The one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant.” The mindset of our world says leaders should be served, but God says the best leaders are those that serve others.

    Copyright 2016, 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 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. What is your reaction to these apparent paradoxes in worldviews about how we should operate in the business world?

     

    1. In your view, is it ever justifiable to conclude, “I know the Bible teaches differently about how we should conduct ourselves in the workplace, but to succeed in business, you have to do what you have to do!”? Explain your answer.

     

    1. Do you agree that personal and professional beliefs and values should be considered in forming a business partnership? Why shouldn’t we just consider the gifts, talents and tangible investments that the respective partners can contribute and leave it at that?

     

    1. Have you ever worked for someone who viewed his or her role in the company as being that of a servant? What impact do you think such an attitude has on employees, customers and suppliers? Do you think it could diminish the leader’s influence and power in any way? Why or why not?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages: Matthew 6:19-24,33; Mark 10:45; Ephesians 6:5-9; Colossians 3:23-24

  3. The Power Of Learning From Others

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    August 29, 2016 – Ken Korkow  The late motivational speaker, Charlie “Tremendous” Jones, used to say, “Five years from now you will be the same except for the books you read and the people you meet.” I do not intend to discuss books here, but can speak volumes about the impact of people we meet during our lifelong journey. Here are some examples from my own life:

    Don taught me about transparency. I came from a family that talked about work, but never discussed relationships or feelings. Then intense combat as a Marine in the Vietnam War caused me to pull deeper into myself and not trust people or share openly with them. God used Don to teach me, as he would say, “You gotta feel it to heal it.” He taught me that only God is my Judge, so I could feel free to be open and transparent with others and not be concerned about what they thought of me.

    Brian taught me about the virtues of “just being there and not trying to solve everyone’s problems.” When I was trapped in a period of suicidal depression, Brian did the best things he possibly could have done: He showed up, shut up, and just worked alongside me until I was so physically worn out that I could sleep without thinking, without dwelling on the things that were troubling me.

    In the Old Testament book of Job, Job’s friends at first did the same for him – they sat in sackcloth and ashes, went a week with no food to empathize with his pain, and chose not to engage in pointless conversation. That changed later, when they decided to try reasoning through why Job was enduring such suffering. But initially they offered what Job needed: unquestioning, unconditional friendship.

    Today another friend, Rex, continues to teach me to shut up, show up, and just do the next “one thing” as the Lord directs. Rex was South Dakota’s largest farmer until he had a spinal stroke; now he is paralyzed from the waist down. But he does not seek sympathy. As he told another disabled businessman, “Every day I wake up and have to decide: Is it going to be beer, a bullet, or the Bible?” His choice, Rex said, is the Bible.

    Then there is Joe, an entrepreneur who had encountered very difficult life issues, yet shows enthusiasm, innovation, and an ability to roll up his sleeves and engage in a different culture because he operates from his true identity, the person he is in Christ.

    Each of these men has had a profound impact on my life and helped keep me from veering too far off course. Another thing Charlie Jones often said was, “You are who you hang out with. Choose wisely!” Thankfully I had enough sense to choose wisely with these men.

    This life is not intended to be lived alone. Even if we are happily married, there is a need for us to find trusted friends who will hold us accountable, encourage us…and rebuke us when necessary. As Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”

    Another passage underscores the importance of teaming up with others for maximum effectiveness: Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!… Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).

    Ken Korkow lives in Omaha, Nebraska, 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. Who do you “hang out” with? Are these individuals that have a positive influence and are helping you to move toward your life’s goals and dreams? Explain your answer.

     

    1. Specifically, what person or persons in your life would fill roles similar to those friends that Mr. Korkow describes? If you do not have someone in your life like this, how do you think you could go about finding them?

     

    1. Do you even agree that having consistent, trusted friends like these is necessary for living a rewarding life? Why or why not?

     

    1. What do you think the verse from Proverbs means when it says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another”?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages:  Mark 6:7; Acts 13:1-3; 2 Corinthians 1:1; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Timothy 2:2

  4. Is Bigger Always Better?

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    August 22, 2016 – Robert J. Tamasy  When a business gets started, the hope is that it will attract customers or clients. But once that’s assured, the question becomes, “How can we grow?” followed by, “How much should we grow?” While answers to both questions vary by company, growth is rarely regarded as a bad thing. The bigger the better, right? More profits. Greater impact. Bigger brand. Sometimes, however, it might be wise to ask a different question: “How big is too big?”

    This came to mind after reading a post by marketing blogger Seth Godin. In it he cited a huge hotel in a large U.S.A. city that has more than 1,000 rooms. I have a good idea of which one he was referring to, since I have been to one much like he described on a few occasions. We might be tempted to wonder, what could be bad about a lavish, ornate hotel with more than 1,000 rooms?

    As Godin pointed out, the hotel check-in line was always long, requiring a lengthy wait for guests arriving or preparing to depart. The fully equipped fitness center was usually filled, as early as 5 a.m., meaning the likelihood of getting a rigorous workout that fits into one’s schedule is far from certain. And as for personal service, there is virtually no possibility of any hotel staff member knowing, much less greeting, a guest by name or even recognizing their face.

    Establishments like that become big because they generate money. Shareholders are happy. Their financial resources allow them to offer amenities smaller establishments could only dream about. But as Godin asked, is being bigger most important, or is striving to become better, regardless of size, the key?

    I sometimes shop at the so-called “big-box stores,” where they can buy large quantities of products and offer them more cheaply than competitors. That has some appeal. But invariably, these stores are not known for customer service. Sometimes finding an employee to ask for help seems impossible. So for me as the consumer, bigger definitely is not always better.

    That is not to say growth, and becoming bigger, is universally bad. But it should be pursued with caution, and with a clearly thought-out plan on how to avoid letting “bigness” undermine the fundamental values that helped the business become established and prosperous from the start. Here are principles from the Bible, some of them very familiar, that might be helpful to consider:

    Service should always remain paramount. The best companies are known for excellent service, as well as products. When people are served well, they become repeat customers. Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28).

    Commitment to meet or even exceed expectations. In business we always hope for a profitable day, but sometimes committing to doing the best for the customer is the greatest reward, with the highest return rate. …’It is more blessed to give than to receive’(Acts 20:35).

    Focus on the mission. We can entertain great dreams of growth, but at what point will growth make it difficult to remain true to the corporate mission and values? “A discerning man keeps wisdom in view, but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth” (Proverbs 17:24).

    © 2016. 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. 

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. What is your first reaction when you hear the statement, “Bigger is better”?

     

    1. Can you think of examples when being bigger did result in making for a better company, not just one that reaps higher profits? Explain your answer.

     

    1. How can a business owner, or corporate leadership team, go about evaluating how to grow, as well as being able to discern at what point continued growth could become a liability?

     

    1. Maybe you are not a business owner, or even a top executive that must wrestle with corporate growth issues. However, we all must consider growth issues as they affect us personally and professionally: How much more work should I or can I take on? Should I strive for that promotion, even if it might require sacrificing time and energy I can now devote to family or personal interests?

    What other questions are worth asking ourselves as we ponder opportunities – or temptations – for personal and professional growth?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages: Proverbs 11:14, 18:15, 20:5; Matthew 4:22-24, 6:19-21,33, 19:19; Galatians 5:13-14

  5. Six Words For Greater Thankfulness

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    August 15, 2016 – Ed Thompson  A virtue we see too rarely in the business and professional world is thankfulness. We are reminded of it once a year in many countries when we observe Thanksgiving Day, but being thankful should not be limited to an annual holiday. The common act of awakening each morning, feeling healthy and able to work should inspire in us a spirit of thankfulness. Most days we encounter problems and adversity to varying degrees, but we can still find many reasons for feeling thankful.

    Some time ago I heard a message from Dr. David Jeremiah in which he listed six words he suggested could equip people to live more thankfully. Not long afterward, in a men’s group we discussed these six words. To stimulate our thinking, I asked simple questions that resulted in some profound encounters with one another. Perhaps you will find these thoughts helpful as well:

    Word #1 – Relationships. I asked the men, “Tell the rest of us about a special relationship you have (or have had) that makes you deeply thankful.” In response, we heard some moving stories about marriages, friendships, and acts of love that have emerged out of God-given relationships.

    Word #2 – Remembering: Another man asked, “What defining moments do you remember in your life that make you thankful? Tell us about one of them.”

    Word #3 – Reflecting: This word has the effect of taking remembering to a deeper level. One man confessed, “I can’t help but reflect on all the times I chose work over my wife and family. Today, I thank God that despite that, they love me and stuck with me.”

    Word #4 – Rejoicing: The same man who talked about reflecting began rejoicing about how God had preserved his marriage and family throughout his life. There are some who would say crying is “unmanly,” but his tears stirred the rest of us to also rejoice in God’s goodness in our own lives. We encountered special gratitude simply by being exposed to one another’s stories, and applying their insights to our own lifetime experiences.

    Word #5 – Responding: Another man had a very different story. His wife and children had left him due his lack of provision and support for their needs. This man declared that with God’s help, he was going to try to win them back. The rest of us responded to him with support and prayer, hoping for an outcome of restoration for him and his family.

    Word #6 – The final term we discussed was actually a phrase: Reaching Out. After hearing a story about visiting homeless people in a wooded area, the men determined to reflect on where they might begin to reach out to the poor and hurting as God leads them. We agreed that serving others gratifies our hearts as much as (or more than) the lives we serve. As Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35), in part because as we give from our resources – whether it involves our material possessions, our abilities, or our time – we experience the thankfulness of being able to help others.

    Can these six words help you in experiencing more thankfulness daily in your life? Have you learned the blessing of the admonition, “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)?

    Ed Thompson lives in Jamestown, N.C. and directs Single Purpose Ministries. He writes “Weekly E-Blast,” a workplace meditation. His website is www.singlepurposeministries.net.

     

     

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. Is thankfulness an attitude or emotion you experience often, or do you find it necessary to have a designated holiday or special occasion to remind you to be thankful? Explain your answer.

     

    1. What can you think of at this moment – without much effort – that makes you feel thankfulness, or for which you know you should be thankful?

     

    1. Which of the six words prompts you the most to a renewed sense of thankfulness for aspects of your life, whether in your career, your family, or some other aspect of your personal life?

     

    1. As stated from the outset of this “Monday Manna,” thankfulness is not a topic we often hear discussed in the workplace. Why do you think that is? What, if anything, do you think should be done to change that? What could you do to introduce more thankfulness into your own working environment?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages: Psalm 50:14, 147:7; 2 Corinthians 4:15, 9:11; Ephesians 5:20; Colossians 2:7, 3:16-17

  6. Working ‘Under New Management’

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    August 8, 2016 – Robert J. Tamasy  Have you ever driven past a business and noticed the sign, “Under New Management,” prominently displayed on the exterior? It makes you wonder if that will prove to be a good thing or not, right?

    I can think of a restaurant or two that I enjoyed going to until their quality and/or service declined, making it less appealing to continue patronizing them. When I saw “Under New Management” across the front window or marquee, I wondered, “Should I visit them again and see what has changed?”

    The same applies to large corporations, where old leadership is removed and a new CEO is appointed with promises of bigger and better things to come. When an organization is struggling or falls on hard times, whether it is a for-profit auto manufacturer, an educational institution, or a well-known retail chain, the promise of being Under New Management often serves to calm stakeholders, at least temporarily, and placate disillusioned customers or supporters.

    But taking this idea to a more personal level, have you ever felt the need in your life to be “under new management”? Maybe there are some behavioral traits you are not proud of. A hair-trigger temper that sometimes causes you trouble in your interactions with employees, colleagues or even customers? Perhaps underlying feelings of anger you find difficult to repress – even when you cannot identify exactly why you are angry? Or other temptations that plague you every day, whether at work or in your personal life? You would like to change, to feel or act differently, but feel helpless in being able to do so.

    What would you say if presented the opportunity to make desired changes, and it would not take much effort on your part to experience it? Years ago someone came into my life and helped me to understand and apply some biblical truths that I found to be transformative – truly life-changing. Here are some of them, for your consideration:

    We are offered the opportunity to become “new.” Becoming a follower of Jesus Christ means a lot more than receiving forgiveness for sins and assurance of life after death. It also means we truly receive new life spiritually. With this comes the capacity to overcome old habits and destructive behaviors, not through our own initiative but through the power of Jesus living in us. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17). “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me…” (Galatians 2:20). “…just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life” (Romans 6:4).

    We are freed from the power of our old ways. Some view the so-called “Christian life” as attempting to conform to a new set of rules, rituals and regulations. However, the Bible teaches we become freed from the power of sin – defined as “missing the mark” of God’s perfect standards – and instead are enabled to live as God always intended. “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:11). “You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness”

    Perhaps you need to turn your life over to Jesus Christ for the first time. Or maybe, even as one of His followers, you have failed to recognize and appropriate His power to become “under new management.” Today might be a good day to start, by praying and enlisting the support of trusted friends.

    © 2016. 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. Describe a time you decided to patronize a business or organization that announced it was “under new management.”

     

    1. What do you think of the idea of being “under new management” personally? Have there ever been times when you thought that might be a good idea, but wondered if it was even possible to achieve? If so, in what ways?

     

    1. This “Monday Manna” talks about the Bible declaring that becoming new – even a “new creation” – is not a fanciful notion but a real possibility, through the power of Jesus Christ. How do you respond to that? Has that been your experience? Are you experiencing that now?

     

    1. Whether applied to the context of the workplace, or one’s personal life, what do you think it means when the Bible talks about becoming a “slave to righteousness”? Does that make you curious or sound interesting to you in any way? Does it sound ominous? Why or why not?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages:  John 15:1-5; Acts 17:28; Romans 6:3-14,16-23; 7:21-8:2; Philippians 4:13

  7. Reeling From Rotten Reorganizations

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    August 1, 2016 – Rick Boxx   Constant reorganization was one of the biggest drawbacks I have experienced in working for large organizations. Every year, usually around September, the budget process would begin. Rumors would start about the expected casualties as budgetary cutbacks were being considered.

    This process would extend for months before the actual staff reductions took place. However, due to the uncertainty of what lie ahead in their future, much of that time employees found waiting to be fraught with anxiety; it was paralyzing.
Would they keep their jobs, or would they – sometimes with little or no notice – find themselves on the unemployment line, desperately searching for a new job?

    Typically the reorganization process involved many closed-door meetings that everyone knew about, but had no idea of what was transpiring behind those doors. Too often, the only things that came out of secretive sessions were deception and outright lies. The profitability of the company appeared to be paramount. The goal of top management seemed simply to keep employees working, much more than showing them the respect and dignity they deserved. Because of the lying and deception we observed, most employees interpreted this as a lack of regard for them, their needs and concerns.

    While we could understand why corporate executives could not disclose, much less discuss, every step in the reorganization process, their unwillingness to demonstrate any compassion for the plight was not acceptable. It was no wonder that employee morale would drop noticeably and loyalty to the company declined to virtually nothing. Just as the corporate leaders were looking out for themselves and the organization first, the workers also felt the need to protect their own interests.

    In situations like that, I observed the practicality of biblical principles that could have been applied:

    Recognizing the consequences of deception. Although lying and dishonesty are hardly a new phenomenon for the workplace, invariably the outcome of deception is bad, often even disastrous. If leaders are considering reorganization, they should first think carefully about how to respect the dignity of their staff. Lying does not help, it hurts. As Proverbs 26:28 teaches, “A lying tongue hates those it hurts, and a flattering mouth works ruin.”

    Demonstrating compassion for all involved. There is a temptation to make profits and the desires of shareholders of paramount importance, but the best leaders – those that inspire confidence and trust – are those of take into account the interests of all, especially employees who perform the work that enables the company to function. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Proverbs 2:3-4).

    Seeing the leader’s role as serving rather than commanding. It seems easy to conclude, “I am in charge. Whatever I decide is right.” But wise executives practice servant leadership, communicating concern for everyone affected by major changes. Jesus embodied this principle: For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).

    Copyright 2016, 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. Have you ever gone through a corporate reorganization or restructuring? What was that experience like for you?

     

    1. If that experience was negative, what do you think could have been done differently to make the circumstances better for everyone involved – even if major changes were inevitable?

     

    1. Do you think lying and deception are ever justified when major changes are being implemented in an organization? Explain your answer.

     

    1. How do you think leaders can demonstrate compassion to people working for them, even when necessary decisions will be affecting them adversely?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages: Proverbs 11:3, 28:2,16, 29:4; Matthew 7:12, 20:28; Mark 12:33; Colossians 3:17,23

  8. Counting The Cost Of A Career

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    July 25, 2016 – Jim Langley   A business article in the Los Angeles Times caused me to do some research on the new CEO for a major airline. Within six weeks of taking on this position, the top executive had been hospitalized after suffering a serious heart attack. Months later, while on leave of absence, he received a heart transplant. The article stated that not long after his transplant surgery, this CEO had decided to return to work full-time with the long, arduous hours and extensive travel needed to turn the struggling airline around.

    At least on the surface, according to the article, the bottom line for him seemed to be a very large compensation package he would receive if he completed six straight months without any more leaves of absence. As I read the article, I wondered whether he had truly considered the cost of pursuing such a sizable financial reward, risking his health and recovery from very serious, invasive surgery?

    However, it is not necessary to go through an organ transplant to recognize the impact our work priorities might have on our life and the lives of those closest to us. I imagine the airline CEO is not returning strictly for the money. He likely also loved the challenge of turning an organization around and was willing to take the calculated risk of potential heart failure, even death. Another article suggested the airline’s demand that the top executive return to work just two months after his heart transplant could be considered a “heartless act.”

    Perhaps you can relate to this executive’s dilemma. I certainly can. Work is often very demanding and can truly take a toll on a life, even for those enjoying good health.

    Let us consider what the Bible says about the cost associated with our life decisions. Speaking to some of His followers, Jesus offered an analogy: “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to finish it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one who is coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:28-33).

    Elsewhere Jesus made a definitive statement about priorities, observing, No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” (Matthew 6:24).

    More than 20 years ago I considered the cost and decided it was time to let God have control of my life. This meant I would no longer be a slave to my business; I had come to understand my relationship with God was my top priority. Today, work remains important to pay the bills and provide for my loved ones, but I have also learned to put my family and others before the office as well. God’s providence continues to amaze me as He meets all of our needs as we simply trust in Him. As a “satisfied customer,” I strongly recommend you also consider the cost as you deal with life’s tough decisions.

    © 2016, all rights reserved. Jim Langley has been a life and health insurance professional since 1983 and an active member of CBMC of Santa Barbara, California, U.S.A. since 1987. Adapted from one of his “Fourth Quarter Strategies” discussions, these are designed to “light a fire under Christian business and professionals to become more effective in the marketplace for Jesus Christ.” His website is: www.fourthquarterstrategies.com

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. What do you think of the corporate CEO’s decision to return to his full-time responsibilities while still in the process of recovering from a major health setback? Would you be tempted to do the same?

     

    1. How can a person evaluate what his or her priorities are, and whether they are in the proper order in their lives?

     

    1. The title of this Monday Manna refers to counting the cost of a career? Have you ever taken the time to determine how much your work is costing – not only for you personally, but also for your family and others who care for you? What steps would you take – if any – if you were to determine the cost was too high?

     

    1. Have you ever taken corrective measures when a job seemed to be demanding too much of you? Or can you think of someone you know who has done that? What are some of the difficulties in making such changes when health, marriage or family well-being are at stake?

     

    NOTE: If you would like to look at or discuss other portions of the Bible that relate to this topic, consider the following passages:  Matthew 16:26; Luke 9:25; 1 Corinthians 10:31;
    Colossians 3:17,23-24; 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12

  9. Feeling Badly When We Have It Good

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    July 18, 2016 – Jim Mathis   More than 20 years ago, the September 14, 1992 issue of Forbes magazine carried an article entitled, “Why Do We Feel So Bad When We Have It So Good?” I kept the issue because there has not been a time since then, or at any time before for that matter, when this has not been the case. For some reason we have a tendency, even at the best of times, to moan and groan about things being or becoming bad.

    Part of the problem, it seems, is that politicians spend much of their time telling us how bad off we are, individually and as a society. They issue broad promises that they will make things better. That is, if they are elected. Both incumbent officials and those aspiring to public office assure us they want to “make our country great again,” implying that at some unspecified time in the past, things were better.

    But making us feel badly when things actually are good is not the exclusive domain of politics – or the media. Some people simply have a predisposition toward pessimism, a “glass half-empty” way of looking at life. Other people take a totally different perspective, leaning decisively toward optimism, wearing the proverbial rose-colored eyeglasses to view containers that are half-full. Philosophers, very adept at being able to support whichever perspective you prefer, assert that whether you think things are getting better or are convinced they are getting worse, you are correct. We always find what we are looking for.

    Personally, I am one of those glass half-full types. Yes, we can find reasons to complain, but the many opportunities we have today are unprecedented. We have the world at our fingertips for the first time in history. As a result, it is easier than ever for creative, energetic, industrious people to start businesses.

    But therein lies the secret: Being creative, energetic and industrious. We cannot wait for opportunities to suddenly appear on our doorsteps. We must seek them aggressively, and then pursue them with great determination. From a spiritual perspective, our faith and trust in God should give us even more reason for abounding optimism. The Bible assures us that we “can do all things through Christ who strengthens us” (Philippians 4:13), and also, “my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

    So in one respect, it begins with our attitude and our outlook. The apostle Paul made reference to this when he wrote, “Whatever a man sows, he will reap in return. The one who sows to please his flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; but the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life” (Galatians 6:7-8).

    As a professional photographer, my job is to find the best in people and look for beauty in everything. I have no trouble finding it. I have discovered that if you look for beauty and excellence in everything and everyone, it is easy to see. As business and professional people, we have the privilege – and the responsibility – to model this approach for our companies, our colleagues, and our customers.

    When Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden” (Matthew 5:14), He was calling each of His followers to shine the light of His love, grace and hope, even at times when things truly do seem dark. We should be ready at all times to demonstrate that even when things seem to be taking a negative turn, the “worst of times” can be the best of times as we follow Jesus.

    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. Do you sometimes find yourself feeling badly, even when it seems you should be feeling good about the circumstances you are experiencing? If so, what factors cause you to fall into negative thinking?

      

    1. The pervasive messages we hear about how bad things have become in our society and around the world – in your view, are these largely a result of relentless, negatively oriented media reporting and political posturing? Or is there more to it than that? Explain your answer.

     

    1. Are you typically a glass half-empty or glass half-full type of person? Why do you think this might be?

     

    1. From a spiritual perspective, should faith and confidence in God make a difference in how we approach life, whether in a broad, general sense, or in the specific tasks and responsibilities we carry out each day? In your experience, does this make a difference for you?

     

    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:  Psalm 37:1-7, 118:24; Proverbs 3:5-6;
    Luke 6:38; Philippians 4:8,14-18

  10. What Do Others See As Your Identity?

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    July 11, 2016 – Robert J. Tamasy  From time to time we hear of people taking a break from their jobs, college, even their marriages, to “search for their identity.” As if they might have misplaced it somewhere and are hoping it will turn up at a lost-and-found room somewhere. Such a quest might seem curious at best, foolish at worst. But in reality, our identity does mean a lot – especially in the business and professional world.

    We see this in tangible ways with quickly recognizable corporate logos such as Nike, McDonald’s, Mercedes and Ford, Google, or the New York Yankees. Years ago I was in Jamaica and found it surprising to discover items in a shop representing one of the popular U.S. racecar drivers at the time. Establishing a recognizable image is crucial in the competitive local, national and global markets.

    Carefully designed business cards help us to instantly convey who we are and what we do. After all, one of the first questions we often ask of people we have just met is, “What kind of work do you do?” In other words, “Who are you – what are you?”

    When a company develops a unique product, legal steps are taken to secure a patent or trademark so competitors cannot duplicate it. Enterprises are becoming extremely protective of their brand, whether it be an international, multi-faceted corporation like the Walt Disney Company, a prominent university, a retailing franchise, or even a well-known public figure.

    Bringing this closer to home, have you ever considered that, even if you do not own a business or head a company, you also have a “logo,” “trademark” and “brand” others use to evaluate who you are and what you stand for? Recently I read this statement: “Your smile is your logo, your personality is your business card, how you leave others feeling after an experience with you becomes your trademark.” And we might add, “Whether others aspire to be like you is your brand.” What do you think people you work with regard as your “brand” or “trademark”? Do they look forward to doing business with you on a personal level?

    Although the Bible does not use the terms, it offers great insight into how to go about creating a highly marketable personal trademark or brand. Here are just three examples of its wisdom on this topic:

    The power of being others-oriented. Society often urges us to “look out for No.1 (ourselves),” but people who put others first are rare and extraordinary. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4).

    The attraction of a generous spirit. There are many worthy causes to which we can give from our resources, but a sincerely generous, freely giving person can benefit others in many ways. “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).

    The impact of showing compassion. What is the best way to treat people? Simply, treat them as you would want to be treated if the roles were reversed. So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you (Matthew 7:12).

    © 2016. 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. What do you consider to be your identity, either professionally or personally? Where does your sense of identity come from?

     

    1. The statement is made, “Your smile is your logo, your personality is your business card, how you leave others feeling after an experience with you becomes your trademark.” If this is true, how do you think friends and coworkers would describe you in these terms?

     

    1. Have you ever had doubts about your identity as a person, wondering who or what you are, personally or professionally? If so, how have you handled that kind of experience and introspection?

     

    1. If you were to legally establish your personal “brand,” what might that be? Are there any aspects of what your brand looks like now that you would desire to change? Explain your answer.

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages: Proverbs 11:3, 21:5, 29:4; Matthew 5:42-44; Mark 12:33; Luke 6:38

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