Category Archive: Monday Manna

  1. The Challenge Of Retaining Talent

    Leave a Comment

    November 14, 2016 – Robert J. Tamasy  Once upon a time, workers signed on for long-term employment. They found a reputable company, could earn an acceptable wage, and fully expected to hang around long enough for a gold watch and a pension upon retirement. Not anymore.

    Corporations decided one of the quickest and most effective cost-saving measures was to reduce staff whenever possible. In response, employees realized that if their companies did not feel the need to be loyal to them, there was no need for them to offer loyalty in return. As a result, the business environment began to look like frogs hopping from one lily pad to another, workers grasping at opportunities that paid just a bit more, offered better benefits, or promised a pleasant change of scenery.

    Today, however, more and more businesses are recognizing the value and importance of retaining key personnel. Why invest countless hours and thousands of dollars in training new employees if talented staff can be persuaded not to leave for “greener pastures”? The question is: How to retain them?

    One article I read recently listed seven reasons talented employees are willing to stick with their companies instead of taking a nomadic approach to their careers. These reasons include:

    1. Being paid well.
    2. Feeling appreciated.
    3. Knowing their employers and supervisors are listening to them.
    4. They are rewarded for quality work by being promoted.
    5. They are encouraged to be involved in decision-making.
    6. They are mentored by seasoned veterans within their companies who help them grow and develop professionally and personally.
    7. Their work is challenging and fulfilling.

    The wisdom of the Bible supports such findings. Here are some of the principles it presents:

    Pay people what they are worth. Money is not the only motivator, but compensation helps to assure people that they are valued. For Scripture says, ‘Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,’ and ‘The worker deserves his wages’(1 Timothy 5:18).

    Even less-experienced employees can offer worthwhile recommendations. Sometimes the most perceptive suggestions can come from the people who must implement the plan. “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed” (Proverbs 15:22).

    People want their performance to be recognized. Good workers know when they produce quality work. If their efforts are not recognized, they often choose to go where they are acknowledged for what they contribute. “Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will serve before kings; he will not serve before obscure men” (Proverbs 22:29).

    Mentors help to show the way for younger workers. A mentor can be a priceless resource and benefit for a talented, emerging leader. As the apostle Paul wrote to his disciples, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice” (Philippians 4:9).

    © 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. How successful has your company or organization been in retaining most of its best, highly talented employees?

     

    1. What are some of the challenges you have faced – or observed – for keeping key personnel in an increasingly fluid work environment?

     

    1. Do you agree with the reasons cited for talented people choosing to remain with their current employer rather than moving elsewhere? What, if any, other motivations for staying come to your mind?

     

    1. Which of the biblical principles cited resonate with you the most? From your own perspective of workplace satisfaction, which of them is most important to you?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages:  Proverbs 12:25, 13:18, 19:20, 20:6, 25:13, 27:5,17, 23-27; 2 Timothy 2:2

  2. The Secret To True Genius

    Leave a Comment

    November 7, 2016 – Rick Boxx  One of my favorite television shows is “Scorpion.” In this series, a group of socially inept geniuses contract with the Department of Defense to solve potentially catastrophic problems. They are highly intelligent, even though their people skills often leave something to be desired. The fascinating aspect of every episode in the series is that all the geniuses have their own unique fields of expertise, but when they combine those skills, their synergy and the sum of their collective genius solves incredibly complex and challenging problems.

    Unlike many TV shows, in which the concepts presented defy comprehension and require the viewers to “suspend their disbelief,” the underlying concept for “Scorpion,” in addition to being very entertaining, has much practical value for real life – especially the workplace.

    We see this demonstrated every day in our business and professional settings. Our organizations may have “star players,” highly talented individuals who stand out in terms of performance and productivity. But even these people could not accomplish what they do without the skills and contributions of many other individuals. Speaker and author Tim Sanders summarized this truth nicely at a conference that I attended when he said, “Genius is a team sport.”

    There is an adage you might have heard, “You win with people.” It fits this idea of “genius,” whether in the workplace, on an athletic team, or even in a family. If you put the right people in the right places doing the right things, chances of success are much greater. You hardly ever see or hear someone espousing an individual working in total isolation, without assistance from anyone.

    This concept is embraced in the Bible in a number of passages, including 1 Corinthians 12, which uses the metaphor of the human body to teach why collaboration as a team is important. The apostle Paul wrote, “If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts of the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be”
(1 Corinthians 12:17-18).

    It can be a trap to give full attention to top performers and neglect the indispensable contributions of people who work behind the scenes or do “grunt work” so that top executives, salespeople and other leaders can excel at what they do best.

    One of the great principles from the Scriptures is found in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, which reminds us, “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.”

    So the point is simple: If you want to maximize innovation in your organization, if you desire to create an environment where “true genius” is encouraged and has a chance to flourish, embrace and leverage the talents of others. As someone has wisely observed, “Not one of us is as smart as all of us combined.”

    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. How would you describe “true genius,” when the term is considered within the context of a workplace environment?

     

    1. What has been your experience in observing how the accomplishments and contributions of very talented individuals are enhanced, even multiplied, by the efforts of others?

     

    1. Can you give an experience when you were able to achieve success in a project or endeavor that exceeded your expectations, in part because of what other people were able to contribute to the effort?

     

    1. Do you think the biblical comparison used, showing how different parts of the human body contribute to the healthy functioning of the body overall, applied to how a company or organization functions? Why or why not?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages:  Proverbs 11:14, 15:22, 22:29, 27:17; Romans 12:3-8

  3. The Link Between Peace And True Success

    Leave a Comment

    October 31, 2016 – Jim Langley   The late John Wooden became a man whose name was synonymous with success. With 10 national collegiate men’s basketball championships during his career, it is easy to see why his” Pyramid of Success” served as a foundational teaching tool not only in sports, but also in business.

    If we look at the tenets that make up Wooden’s model for success, we can see each of the building blocks working to complement each other in team building. One of my favorite books was written by coach Wooden with Jay Carty, Coach Wooden One-on-One. Over the years, for me it became more than a devotional resource. It also became a wonderful reflection of a man I never met, yet I came to know him very well through his conversations with co-author Jay Carty.

    Success is an elusive topic; what it really represents means something different to each of us. Here is a brief look at success through Wooden’s eyes:

    He stated, “Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.” Interestingly, his quote makes no mention of winning, gaining wealth or fame, attaining honors, or finishing with more wins than losses. He also places no time constraints on achieving success. This is because Coach Wooden considered success to be a lifelong process.

    In the Bible we find a similar perspective on success. Israel’s King David was not perfect, but it says he was a man after God’s own heart. At the end of his reign, David instructed Solomon, who would be succeeding him and building the temple for God. In 1 Chronicles 22:13, David told his son, “Then you will have success if you are careful to observe the decrees and laws that the Lord gave Moses for Israel. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged.”

    Peace has nothing to do with wealth, status or anything tangible. It is that intangible assurance that allows us to know we are pleasing to our God and that He will one day tell us. “Welcome home, My good and faithful servant!” Here are a few things the Bible tells us about peace:

    Peace is unwavering. External circumstances cannot disrupt the inner peace we can enjoy when we place our faith and confidence in God. “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you” (Isaiah 26:3).

    Peace is a product of prayer. Why do we not experience peace in our lives? Maybe it is because we do not ask God for it. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

    Peace is promised. Cultivating a relationship with Jesus in both our personal and professional life offers peace the world around us knows nothing about. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid(John 14:27).

    © 2016, all rights reserved. Jim Langley has been an agent and chartered life underwriter (CLU) with New York Life 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.” His website is: www.fourthquarterstrategies.com

     

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. What would be your own definition of success? Does it involve beating the competition, advancing up the ranks professionally, or making more money? Explain your answer.

     

    1. In his quote, Coach John Wooden spoke of success in terms of peace of mind and being satisfied with having done your best. What is your reaction to that point of view?

     

    1. What have success – and peace – to do with a relationship with God? Do you agree with this conclusion? Why or why not?

     

    1. Have you experienced peace through a relationship with God, specifically through Jesus Christ, one that endures despite the challenges and problems of every day? If so, explain what that is like 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 passages:  Genesis 39:23; 1 Samuel 18:14; 1 Chronicles 22:11-13; Ecclesiastes 10:10; Joshua 1:6-9

  4. Indispensable, Like a Cellphone?

    Leave a Comment

    October 24, 2016 – Robert J. Tamasy   How did we ever survive without cellphones? Have you wondered about that recently? Decades ago, before cellphones became commonplace, it was not a concern. If we had an urgent need to place a call, we would seek out a payphone somewhere – in a store, or even along a roadside. If someone needed to reach us while we were traveling in a car, or somewhere without phone service, they were just out of luck.

    Today, however, leaving home or work without a cellphone sometimes seems as if we forgot to put on an essential item of clothing. We almost feel naked. I have a friend who in the 1980s became a highly successful sales executive for what was then known as Cellular One. In those days users practically needed to be bodybuilders to heft the briefcase-sized communications devices, but he sold them just the same. Now they easily fit into a pocket or purse.

    Cellphones, thanks to great advances in technology, have become indispensable for our lives. A successful business or professional person without a cellphone is like a motor vehicle without tires. It does not work very well – and neither do they. But in reality, seeking to integrate our faith into the workplace without having the Bible readily available as a resource is not recommended either.

    Some time ago someone gave me a copy of a brief article by that well-known source, “Anonymous,” that asks, “What would happen if we treated our Bible as we treat our cellphones?” Consider:

    • What if we carried our Bible around in our purse or pockets?
    • What if we flipped through it several times a day?
    • What if we turned back to get it if we forgot it at work, or at home?
    • What if we used it to receive messages from the text?
    • What if we treated it as if we could not live without it?
    • What if we gave it to family members as gifts?
    • What if we relied on it whenever we traveled?
    • What if we used in case of emergency?

    The Bible is not a religious book; it is a manual for everyday life and work. God has given it to guide us through opportunities, decisions and challenges of every day. Here are some examples of its value:

    A source of wisdom. Among the Bible’s many values needed for success and leadership skill, none is more important than wisdom: “for attaining wisdom and discipline, for understanding words and insight; for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair” (Proverbs 1:2-3).

    A source of guidance. Asking what to do, how to do it, and why, the Bible gives answers: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man (and woman) of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

    A source for success. We all seek a clear path to success. The Bible promises to provide that: “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful” (Joshua 1:8).

    © 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. On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your reliance on your cellphone? How different would it be if for whatever reason you had to work without a cellphone readily available?

     

    1. Have you ever forgotten your cellphone at home, or at work? How did that make you feel?

     

    1. Can you imagine applying the same principles about dependence on cellphone communication to becoming dependent on the Bible? Explain your answer.

     

    1. If you were to describe the role, if any, of the Bible in how you approach a typical workday, what would that be? Do you think it could become more important in your day-to-day activities and decisions? Why or why not?

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages:  Psalm 119:9-11,105; Ephesians 2:8-10; Matthew 4:4; John 17:17; Hebrews 4:12

  5. The Great Leaf Blower Incident

    Leave a Comment

    October 17, 2016 – Jim Mathis   Some time ago my wife suggested I stop patching up my old leaf blower and buy a new one. So I bought one at a local home improvement store. After a few minutes of blowing off the patio, however, I realized I had come very close to cutting off my fingers because there was no guard on the machine’s impeller.

    I put it back in the box and returned it to the store. The clerk at the returns desk told me I needed to take it back to another store where she presumed I had bought it, since her store did not sell that brand. It did not take long to figure out someone had purchased a blower at the home improvement store, but then had put another, broken blower in the box and taken it back for a refund.

    If the unknown customer’s outright larceny was not bad enough, apparently no one at the home store had bothered to look in the box before they put it back on the shelf. In failing to do so, they could have faced a major lawsuit if I or someone else had been injured using it. It would have nice if the store had apologized for their error, instead of wrongfully accusing me of not paying attention to what I was buying. Ultimately they did give me a replacement blower. I did open the box to inspect the new one before I left the store.

    It may be impossible to avoid the thieves and petty criminals that would return faulty or damaged merchandise to another store, but we can control what goes out the door to our customers.

    When I ran a coffeehouse, I always told our staff that a drink wasn’t a mistake until they handed it to a customer. “Double-check everything before you call their name,” I instructed them. We all make bad food, poor pictures, or products that do not work. No one is perfect. The problem comes when we are not competent enough to recognize the problem and fix it before the customer has to deal with it.

    Competence comes from experience. In my business as a professional photographer, I have learned to know a good photo when I see it, and make sure the clients only get the best. Nobody sees the bad ones I have produced but me.

    This principle applies to any business. We must strive to ensure the car is running right, the food is good, the software works, the tax return is correct, and that nobody gets fingers cutoff because of a missing safety guard. Wrong things happen because of incompetence or not caring about the client or customer.

    Adhering to standards of excellence make good sense from a business perspective. When we serve our customers well, they are more likely to patronize us in the future. But there is an even higher reason for always doing our very best:

    The Scriptures tell us, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17). If we perform shoddy work, can we in good conscience, “do it in the name of Jesus”? Later in the same chapter it states, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men” (Colossians 3:23). We should be proud to present our work – whatever it is – to God as a precious, even sacrificial gift.

    We are also told, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works…” (Ephesians 2:10). The quality of our work might be the greatest evidence of the genuineness of our faith.

    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 similar situation when you bought a defective product from a store? How did you respond? And how did the store respond when you returned it?

      

    1. Why is the quality of our work – and our care for our customers and clients – so important?

     

    1. In your view, what does it mean to “work as for the Lord, not for men”? Is that practical, or even possible, when you work in an organization that does not encourage using biblical principles as a guide for everyday business practices? Explain your answer.

     

    1. When you consider the Bible’s teaching, that “we are God’s workmanship” and we are created to do good works, what comes to mind? How do you respond to that?

     

    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 10:4, 12:27, 22:21; Ecclesiastes 2:24-26; Ephesians 6:5-9; 2 Timothy 3:16-17

  6. Ways God Is At Work In You — At Work

    Leave a Comment

    October 10, 2016 – Robert J. Tamasy   Have you ever thought of your work as more than a job? Perhaps you are among the people that regard your work as an opportunity of ministry. But have you ever considered your work could be a place where God is at work in you? Keith Welton, a pastor who has spent time in the corporate world, has written Working for Glory: A Theology for Doing Work that Matters. Drawing from it he wrote an article, “Six Ways God’s at Work in You,” that appeared on desiringgod.org. I have borrowed his bullet points, adding my own thoughts. Basically, Welton suggests God is using the workplace to:

    Focus your faith. There are few places where our faith can be exercised more vigorously than where we work. When we make plans and they fail, or when even good plans present unexpected challenges, we often find ourselves wondering, “What do I (we) do now?” At such times it helps to remember the promise of Proverbs 3:5-6, which tells us to, “Trust in the Lord will all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”

    Focus your heart. Motivations are very important for approaching our work. Are we doing it solely for the income, to receive recognition, or some other self-oriented reason? Or is our desire to honor God through our work, as Colossians 3:23-24 urges us: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”

    Focus your hands. We all need direction, a sense of purpose in our lives, and work can help in providing that. But Ecclesiastes 9:10 offers this sobering observation: Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.So we are to do what we can, the best we can, while we can.

    Focus your love. As Galatians 5:14 tells us, For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” And what better place is there to encounter our “neighbors” and demonstrate the love of Jesus Christ to them – even those who seem unlovable?

    Focus your mind. We have all discovered many of the practices and philosophies of today’s business and professional world run counter to the teachings of the Bible. So in our quest to succeed and advance at work, we also must strive to keep in mind God’s truth and apply biblical principles to responsibilities, challenges and opportunities we confront each day. “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).

    Focus your witness. CBMC reminds us part of the role God has entrusted to us is to serve as “marketplace ambassadors,” representing Jesus Christ just as a nation’s ambassador would represent it in another country. Jesus commanded His followers, “…and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). For some of us, “Jerusalem” is the office where we work. Traveling for business, we may also venture to other cities – even other parts of the world. When we do, we should keep in mind that we do so as ambassadors of Christ.

    © 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 think of the concept that God is at work – in you – where you work? Has that ever occurred to you before?

     

    1. Why do you think the workplace could be a critical place in God’s desire to enable you to grow and develop in your faith and in being as His servant and ambassador?

     

    1. Which of the six “focuses” cited seem to stand out most strongly as you consider your workplace responsibilities and challenges?

     

    1. If you haven’t seriously considered that God might be working in you where you work, what difference might it make to keep this idea prominent in your thinking as you approach each workday?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages: 1 Corinthians 3:9; 2 Corinthians 5:20, 6:1; Ephesians 2:10; Colossians 3:17;
    2 Timothy 3:17

  7. More Paradoxes In Business

    Leave a Comment

    October 3, 2016 – Rick Boxx   In September I wrote about paradoxes in business, how commonly held and widely accepted views about how to conduct business often run counter to a biblical worldview of the same practices. Here are two others we should consider, both involving money management:

    Financial Stewardship. When I was a commercial lender, a young man excitedly began telling me that Steinway Piano, a well-known company with a storied history, was for sale and he wanted our bank to loan him the money to purchase the company.

    I admired this individual’s ambition, but was stunned when I asked how much money he needed to borrow. Without hesitation, he replied, “I think they will probably want $200 million, and I will need to borrow all of it. I’m only 25 and I don’t have any money.” Apparently he expected me to walk out to the bank’s “money tree” and get him the amount he needed without any questions, not to mention collateral.

    As you might guess, we did not loan this big-idea young man the money, but this experience has always stuck with me as a reminder of how casually people consider the use of debt in business. This illustrates a paradox we find in the business world about the use of money: The world often says use all the debt you can borrow, whether it is for a business, buying a house or even going to college, but God says we are to trust in Him, not the bank.

    Proverbs 3:5 teaches, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.” We are tempted to wonder whether God truly has our best interests at heart, especially when a seemingly good opportunity presents itself and we think we must act quickly to capitalize on it. However, the Bible teaches we are stewards or managers of financial resources God has entrusted to us, not the owners.

    We see this declared in 1 Chronicles 29:11, Yours, O LORD, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O LORD, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things.” God entrusts much to our care, but expects us to use it with wisdom – and by seeking His guidance – rather than acting by impulse.

    Generosity. Here is another area where we see a great paradox between common practice and a biblical worldview. When I was in banking, one of my largest accounts was a construction-oriented business led by Sean. He squeezed his vendors for all he could get out of them, rarely providing anything in return.

    Sean’s business was profitable because he drove his people hard and pressured his suppliers to minimize the expense side of the ledger. But few people enjoyed doing business with him. He was operating according to a philosophy we often hear in the business world, that we should hoard our wealth. God, however, says we are to be generous, willing to freely give as He directs.

    Then Sean had a dramatic spiritual conversion. He went from being a “taker” to becoming an extremely generous “giver.” In fact, over the years since he has given away millions of dollars to many worthy charitable causes. A changed man, he is doing what the apostle Paul said in 1 Timothy 6:18 when he admonished, “Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share.”

    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. What are your perspectives on how widely accepted principles of fiscal management might differ from teachings from the Bible about how we should handle money, both in business and in our personal lives?

     

    1. Explain your experience with the use of debt, whether to establish, grow or expand a business, or to attain desired goals for yourself?

     

    1. When acquiring a loan seems like a quick, easy was of acquiring needed funds for a project, how difficult is it to stop and remember to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding”? Especially when it might mean not proceeding with what you want to do – at least not as soon as you would like?

     

    1. What role – if any – do you think charitable giving should have in the way we conduct business, especially if it means affecting the company’s bottom line? Should profits always take first priority? Explain your answer.

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages: Psalm 37:3-7; Proverbs 15:16, 22:7,26-27; Matthew 6:19-21,33-34; 2 Corinthians 9:6-11

  8. Finding Purpose Behind The Pain

    Leave a Comment

    September 26, 2016 – Jim Langley  Someone once made the observation, “I wouldn’t mind pain if it didn’t hurt so much!” We can all relate to that. For some time now I have been dealing with sharp pain shooting down my right leg, excruciating at times. It is amazing how a slight narrowing of discs in the spine can cause so much discomfort.

    Of course, pain comes in many packages, not just physical. And it keeps recurring in all of our lives. Whatever form it takes, pain can easily lead to despair and feeling debilitated, and distract us from the enjoyment of everyday life.

    Many women have experienced the pain associated with childbirth. One of my friends has been through eight knee surgeries. Pain can take the form of mental anguish. PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is just one example, whether for a soldier who has experienced great trauma on the battlefield, emergency workers that have witnessed firsthand the pain of human suffering and death, or individuals who have endured great abuse in their personal lives. There is the pain suffered by people afflicted by many types of addiction. The pain of emotional depression can leave a person with feelings of hopelessness.

    And for those of us in the workplace, there is no shortage of pain: Unrealized goals and aspirations; job terminations; failed businesses; lost clients and sales contracts; not receiving promotions or pay raises we thought were well-deserved; financial hardships, including bankruptcy; or dealing with unreasonable people at work, including employers, bosses and coworkers.

    There are many options for dealing with pain. We can medicate it. We can ignore it, stuffing it inside and refusing to acknowledge it, often to our long-term detriment. We can become obsessed with pursuits that help us forget our pain temporarily. Sadly, we occasionally hear of people who decide to escape the pain by taking their own lives. None of these approaches, of course, can truly resolve the problem of pain. Often they create more pain for those close to us to endure.

    Fortunately, I have discovered one way to deal with pain that without fail can help us get a positive handle on whatever forms that pain and adversity take in our lives!

    For me, it always starts with prayer and realizing God has a purpose in whatever I’m going through, even if He chooses not to let me know what His purpose might be. In Jeremiah 29:11, God states, “For I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Even when we do not understand the reason for the pain we endure, we can trust God is fully aware of it and will use it for His eternal purposes – and for our good.

    Experience has taught me that I also need to trust He is in control, continuing to work at transforming me more and more into the image of His Son. The saying, ”No pain, no gain!” cannot be found in the Bible, but there is much truth found in that short phrase. I believe with the pains of life we can and will find much to gain, if we are willing to wait for and expect it. As it states in Romans 5:3, “we rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”

    As we deal with pain, our tendency is to plead for it to subside, but often it does not. Perhaps it would pass faster if we would learn from it more quickly, but even when it persists, we can find confidence in the assurance the apostle Paul had when he observed, “Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me, but he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness’” (2 Corinthians 12:8-9). With this perspective we can pray. “Lord, I humbly admit that Your grace is sufficient for this follower of Christ.”

    © 2016, all rights reserved. Jim Langley has been an agent and chartered life underwriter (CLU) with New York Life 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. His website is: www.fourthquarterstrategies.com

     

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. What is your typical reaction when you experience pain in your life, personally or professionally, in whatever form it may take?

     

    1. Should we simply shrug our shoulders and accept that pain – hardship, adversity and the difficulties of dealing with life’s struggles – is just a part of life and there is nothing we can do about it? Explain your answer.

     

    1. What do you think of the idea that God has a purpose behind our pain, whatever it might be? How do you feel when you cannot discern what that purpose could possibly be?

     

    1. Stating it in your own words, what does it mean when God declares, ”My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness?” Do you believe this? Why or why not?

     

    NOTE: If you would like to look at or discuss other portions of the Bible that relate to this topic, consider the following passages: Job 42:1-6; Job 42:10; 2 Corinthians 12:7-10; Philippians 1:20; James 4:5-7

  9. No Shortcuts In Recipe For Greatness

    Leave a Comment

    September 19, 2016 – Robert J. Tamasy  Do you aspire to greatness? Would you like to lead a great company, or create a business that became the standard in the industry for excellence? Or would you like to gain acclaim for being a great leader, the kind of person whose name appears in the pages of a book like Who’s Who or be on the cover of TIME magazine as its “Person of the Year”?

    Maybe you would simply like to be as skilled and accomplished as someone you highly admire. Besides writing, editing and photography, one of my primary interests has always been music. I played the drums in the high school marching and concert bands, and envied the talents of world-famous drummers. “I wish I could play the drums like that!” I often thought. But I wanted the results without the necessary effort.

    On his website, organizational strategist and executive coach Stephen R. Graves recently this observation about leadership:

    There is no speed cooking in greatness.Becoming great won’t happen tomorrow; it is instead a long perseverance in the same direction. As Malcolm Gladwell has artfully observed, even those that we revere as geniuses and prodigies – Bill Gates, Mozart, The Beatles – all worked unbelievably hard for an incredible period of time before truly achieving greatness. The best soups simply have to sit and simmer. You cannot rush them. You cannot speed cook maturity. We must log the time.”

    Many of us get impatient waiting for microwave ovens to heat our meals. We grow tired waiting for traffic lights to change. We detest waiting in lines. And too often, we refuse to invest the time and perseverance necessary for achieving greatness vocationally. We want what we want – and we want it right now!

    It could be argued greatness is not so much earned – as with a college degree, or an hour wage – but rather bestowed. Two of Jesus’ disciples, James and John, were seeking positions of greatness when they asked, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory” (Mark 10:37). After replying they had no idea what they were asking for, Jesus said, “to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared” (Mark 10:40).” Here are some biblical principles about the pursuit of greatness:

    It takes time. When people wonder why someone has experienced great success when they have not, they should ask themselves, “Did I put forth the necessary effort?” Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in slave labor(Proverbs 12:24).

    It takes perseverance. Attaining greatness requires willingness to confront obstacles and endure many kinds of adversity. Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything(James 1:2-4).

    It takes the right motivation. We should honestly ask ourselves why we seek greatness – out of pride, or out of a desire to honor God and be faithful stewards of all He has entrusted to us. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men(Colossians 3:23-24).

    © 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. His blog is: www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com.

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. Have you ever aspired to achieve greatness? Are you pursuing it right now? Explain your answer – and why?

     

    1. How do you think true greatness can be achieved – or bestowed – as this “Monday Manna” suggests is the way it should be done?

     

    1. What, in your opinion, are some possible pitfalls of seeking personal, professional or corporate greatness?

     

    1. How can we discern whether we are truly striving for greatness with this right motivations? What steps might you take to avoid pursuing it for the wrong reasons?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages: Proverbs 10:4-5, 12:11, 14:23, 20:4, 22:29; Ephesians 2:10; Colossians 3:17, 23-24

  10. Repairing, Restoring And Improving The Broken

    Leave a Comment

    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

Page 5 of 26« First...34567...1020...Last »