Category Archive: Monday Manna

  1. Shake It Off And Step Up!

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    December 17, 2018 – Jim Mathis  I was having breakfast with some friends when one of them mentioned a co-worker who was always having bad things happen. He had been suspended from work because he was late too many times. He was late because he ran out of gas. He ran out of gas because his fuel gauge didn’t work.

    Presumably, he could not afford to get the fuel gauge repaired because he was suspended from his job.

    Apparently he failed to realize that he could just keep track of how far he had driven and fill up every few hundred miles, even though the trip odometer makes a good substitute for a fuel gauge. His story of woe became even longer with additional problems arising due to not taking control of common situations.

    Our breakfast conversation then turned to choices. Important choices start at least as far back as high school; some can date back to our pre-school days. Every choice we make has an effect on our life. Sometimes even small choices have a huge impact for the future.

    This reminded me of the fable about the donkey that fell into a well, and nobody could figure out how to get it out. Eventually the townspeople decided to be merciful on the donkey by burying it alive in the well. They began to shovel in dirt, but with each shovelful, the donkey shook off the dirt and stepped up onto the growing pile of dirt. As dirt filled the well, the donkey continued stepping up. Eventually the mound of dirt inside the well had piled so high, the donkey was able to step out of the well onto level ground and safety.

    This story’s moral is a simple one: The donkey could have decided he was doomed and accepted his fate. He could have given up at any time and become buried under the dirt. Instead, he kept shaking it off and rising up under the challenge until he had overcome his dilemma and stepped out into freedom.

    Like the donkey, in the business and professional world we often find ourselves deep in a “well” of difficulties, with people shoveling dirt on us, trying to cover us up. This leaves us with a choice: We can either become buried by the adverse circumstances, or keep stepping up to confront the new challenge.

    In the Bible, we can find many examples of individuals and groups that determined not to succumb to their problems. They would pray for wisdom, sometimes for outright deliverance, then devise strategies to address their challenges. This is why passages like Romans 5:3-5 tell us to “rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, who he has given us.”

    This means rather than bowing down to the pressures of adversity, we can rely on God’s strength to endure our hardships, grow through these experiences, strengthen our resolve, and overcome our challenges so we can excel and thrive, both personally and professionally. James 1:3-5 offers similar sentiments: “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.”

    One could say that we are never completely out of the “well” as long as we are still walking around on Planet Earth. There are constant challenges to face and dirt to be shaken off as long as we live. With God’s strength and guidance, we can overcome them. Keep stepping up!

    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. Why do you think some people seem to encounter one problem after another, each one compounding what’s gone before? Do you agree with Mr. Mathis that these adversities can often result from choices we have made in the past?

     

    1. Had you heard the fable of the donkey before? What lessons or practical insights does it provide for you? What deep “well” do you find yourself stuck in at the moment?

     

    1. If you are familiar with some of the stories in the Bible, who can you think of that was able to overcome extremely difficult circumstances by rising up to face and overcome them?

     

    1. How can someone seek the power, guidance and wisdom of God for facing times of great difficulty and hardship? Have you had experiences like that yourself? Explain your answer.

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages: Habakkuk 3:16-18; Psalm 27:114; Matthew 6:1-12; James 1:5-7,12; 1 Peter 1:6-9

  2. Compassion For ‘The Least Of These’

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    December 10, 2018 – Austin Pryor  With Christmas fast approaching, churches and Christian relief organizations are encouraging us to have a charitable and giving spirit toward the poor. This is good. But may I suggest that care should be taken so the breadth of our compassion is neither too broad on the one hand nor too narrow on the other?

    How can it be too broad? Many Christians use Jesus’ parable in Matthew 25 as the basis for exhorting the church to care for society’s downtrodden. Yet, picking up the text in verse 37, we read (emphasis added): “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine,you did for me.’”

    Interpreting this parable to refer to all of the world’s poor, both Christians and non-Christians alike, is to inappropriately broaden it far beyond its scope. Throughout the New Testament, the primary usage of the word “brothers” is in reference to Christians. The secondary use is to refer to fellow Jews. Nowhere can I find it ever used to refer to humankind in general. Also consider:

    • Matthew had earlier taught who the “brothers” of Jesus were.“‘Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.’ He replied to him, ‘Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?’ Pointing to his disciples, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brotherand sister and mother’”(Matthew 12:47-50).
    • The apostle Paul had a similar view about God’s children and Jesus’ brothers: “Those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship…. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers”(Romans 8:14-29).
    • There are many verses that specifically tell us to give highest priority to the needs of believers in Christ versus those of society in general. Among others, they include: “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love…. Share with God’s peoplewho are in need” (Romans 12:10-13). “Suppose a brother or sisteris without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead”(James 2:15-17).

    Am I saying that we are not to assist the poor who do not share our faith? Of course not. In fact, I would argue for demonstrating greater compassion for them, not less. However, while our benevolence should include material needs, it should lovingly be paired with the gospel message. Should we not provide people who don’t know Jesus Christ with food for their souls, which are eternal, as well as for their earthly bodies which are, after all, only temporal?

    Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry…. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever’”(John 6:35).

    Austin Pryor has 39 years of experience advising investors, and is the founder of Sound Mind Investing newsletter and website. He’s the author of The Sound Mind Investing Handbook,which enjoys the endorsements of respected Christian teachers with more than 100,000 copies sold. Pryor lives in Louisville, Kentucky, with Susie, his wife of 53 years.

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. Does the Christmas season cause you to be more considerate of the needs of those around you – and around the world – who have significant needs? If so, how do you typically respond to those needs?

     

    1. What do you think of Mr. Pryor’s admonition that in responding to requests for charitable giving, that we should give neither too broadly or narrowly? How do you think that would look like in a practical sense?

     

    1. When you read terms in the Bible such as “brother and sister,” how do you interpret what they mean?

     

    1. Why do you think it is important to respond to people outside the family of God with the Good News of Jesus Christ, as well as seeking to address their physical needs? Do you agree with taking that approach?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages: Proverbs 3:27-28, 11:24-25, John 4:10-13; 2 Corinthians 9:6-14; Hebrews 2:10-11

  3. Pitfalls Of The ‘Peter Principle’

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    December 3, 2018 – Rick Boxx  Years ago, the business world became captivated by a book called The Peter Principle, authored by Dr. Laurence J. Peter. The book focused on an common pitfall of leadership advancement: If we continually promote high performers, we will eventually advance them to a level of incompetence. In other words, success in one level of endeavor does not guarantee success in levels of greater authority and responsibility.

    Even though Dr. Peter’s book was first published more than 40 years ago, this “Peter Principle” continues being practiced today, often to the detriment of individuals and the organizations that employ them. According to the Harvard Business Review, researchers Alan Benson and Kelly Shue tested this theory by studying how well sales people performed when promoted to sales management positions.

    Benson and Shue discovered high-performing salespeople often were not good managers, affirming the Peter Principle. When offered a promotion, some people accept it for the additional compensation that comes with it. Or they take the new position out of pride, desiring status or authority that goes with it, rather than to humbly and honestly consider their skill sets, evaluating whether the proposed role would be the best fit for them. Failing to perceive they could become “square pegs” struggling to fit into “round holes” can lead to unnecessary failure.

    For instance, people whose persuasive and people skills enable them to excel in sales might lack the necessary leadership or administrative skills to effectively handle the challenges of managing and directing others. Such a promotion could prove to be more of a penalty than a reward.

    The consequences of moving high performers into very different new roles are significant on several levels. For a company, ideally every individual would be situated in positions where they can both excel and thrive. The adage about a chain being only as strong as its weakest link applies to people being promoted beyond their capabilities.

    In sports, not all stellar athletes are suited to experience equal success as managers, coaches or sports executives. Similarly, promoting someone to a role that requires different skills and gifts can prove frustrating for everyone. Some individuals may find great joy and fulfillment in their current position, but become miserable in another role for which they are ill-suited. At the same time, those assigned to report to them could become stifled in their own productivity.

    The Bible offers insight into how to avoid this dilemma:

    Seek wisdom to discern how best to utilize people’s talents and abilities. Effective leaders learn to understand the people who work for them – their skills, interests, goals and limitations. Advancement decisions should be made with all of those factors in mind.Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds(Proverbs 27:23).

    Do not let pride or ambition misdirect your career. Without question, excellence should be recognized and rewarded. “Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will serve before kings; he will not serve before obscure men” (Proverbs 22:29). However, ambition and the desire for recognition can lead to poor career decisions. Proverbs 29:23 teaches,“A man’s pride will bring him low, but a humble spirit will obtain honor.”

    If you desire honor for your work, concentrate on what you do best and ask your company to reward your successes appropriately.

    Copyright 2018, Unconventional Business Network. 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 visitwww.unconventionalbusiness.org. His latest book and inspiration for their new ministry name, Unconventional Business,provides “Five Keys to Growing a Business God’s Way.”

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. When you hear the term “Peter Principle,” what comes to your mind?

     

    1. Have you seen this Peter Principle in action during your work experience? Has it ever directly affected you, or people with whom you have worked? Explain your answer.

     

    1. What are some of the consequences of promoting people “to their levels of incompetence”? Or to state it a bit more kindly, beyond their levels of competence?

     

    1. How can a good leader discern whether a high performer in the company is suited to receive a promotion, or should just be recognized and rewarded for their work and remain in the same position? Similarly, how can someone honestly evaluate whether they should accept a promotion if offered, when they are highly effective in the work they are currently doing?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages: Proverbs 11:2, 12:9, 15:33, 16:18; Romans 12:3-8; 1 Corinthians 12:12-26

  4. Conforming – Or Being Transformed?

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    November 26, 2018 – Jim Langley  Have you noticed how easily we get caught up in doing things the way our culture dictates, becoming squeezed into the world’s mold? We find almost everyone conforming to the current trends, adopting the behaviors, values and beliefs endorsed by the entertainment media, popular books, the Internet and social media.

    In 1977, a popular song rose to the top of the music charts. Soon people in many parts of the world were singing or humming, “You Light Up My Life.” For years we heard it performed at weddings. A sweet sentiment, right? The closing line, “it can’t be wrong when it feels so right,” sounded innocent enough, and many people adopted it as a personal creed. Over time it morphed into, “if it feels good, do it!” More than 40 years later, this attitude still holds sway in people’s minds and hearts.

    We often see this in the business world. We become enticed by the quick successes of others and follow their lead, hoping to experience similar results. Over my insurance career, I have seen some of my colleagues fall into practices that led to short-term success, but ultimate failure. Sometimes their schemes caused them to lose their ability to conduct future business, even huge financial penalties and prison time. Feelings can deceive.

    On a larger scale, we have seen companies fall out of favor due to unethical business practices. Business institutions spend millions on strategic marketing campaigns to improve severely damaged corporate images. It only takes a few top level executives to hatch devious plans, but in the “if it feels good, do it” culture, we also see lower-level executives buying into deceptive strategies in the quest for personal gain and prestige.

    Addressing members of the church in Rome, the apostle Paul warned against conforming to thinking and practices we see in the world around us. He wrote, Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship.Do not conform 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 12:1-2).

    Paul was saying this is how we, as Christ’s followers, are to live, seeking to please our Master. One translation of Romans 12:2 warns, “don’t let the world squeeze you into its mold.”Rather than conforming to the pattern of this world, we are to be transformed into the image of Jesus, our Savior and Lord, by His power at work in us.

    We might succeed in deluding ourselves that there is no harm in conforming to the ways of this world,that there are no consequences. But there are always repercussions for our actions, good or bad. Paul addressed this problem nearly 2,000 years ago, but today not much has changed. The only difference is the magnitude of the impact our bad decisions can have in this fast-paced world, when a misguided decision made in one city can affect thousands, even millions of people in many other parts of the world.

    So how can we avoid being “conformed” so that we can be transformed by God? Here are two suggestions:

    Put God first. We are promised that the Lord will meet our needs if we trust in Him, not our own devices. “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).

    Put others second. When we take time to consider the best interests of others before ourselves, the likelihood of avoiding compromising, unethical decisions rises exponentially. And we save ourselves a lot of trouble. “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).

    © 2018, all rights reserved. Jim Langley has been writing for more than 30 years while working as a life and health insurance agent. In recent years, his passion has turned to writing about his personal relationship with God. His goal is to encourage others to draw near to Him as well. A long-time member of CBMC, he started writing “Fourth Quarter Strategies” in 2014.

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. What are some of the ways that you have observed business – even at the organization where you work – being influenced by the culture that surrounds us?

     

    1. Can you think of a time when you consciously strived to avoid actions commonly practiced by your peers because you felt they were wrong? What was the impact of this decision to not be “conformed to the pattern of this world”?

     

    1. Why is trusting in our feelings, going according to what some people call “gut instinct,” often so problematic? Have you ever espoused the philosophy, “How can it be wrong when it feels so right?” What did you learn from that?

     

    1. In your view, what does it mean to be “transformed by the renewing of your mind”? How should we strive to do that?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages:
    Proverbs 10:9, 11:1,3, 21, 12:15, 14:12, 20:23, 22:3, 28:2; Matthew 5:19-24,43-48

  5. Giving Thanks – For Everything

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    November 19, 2018 – Robert J. Tamasy  Traditionally, the observance of Thanksgiving Day in the United States takes place on the fourth Thursday in November. That means this year it is being celebrated on Nov. 22, the earliest it is ever held. That means two things: the so-called “Christmas season,” which spans Thanksgiving to Christmas day, is at maximum length; and the formal holiday gives us a head start on considering those things for which we should feel and express our thanks.

    Typically we tend to focus on the enjoyable things we have experienced – good health; happy events such as getting married, having a child, finding a new job or receiving a promotion, moving into a new home; being able to pay our bills and having some money left over. You can probably think of other positives about the past year, our “blessings.” They all deserve our expressions of thankfulness.

    But what about those things we did not perceive as “good”: business or career setbacks, financial struggles, health challenges, discord within our families, or similar hardships? The past year has had natural disasters, and perhaps you or someone you know were victims of one of those. How are we to respond concerning those – how can we “give thanks” for difficult times like that?

    We often hear people ask things like, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” And that is a very relevant question – one that countless articles and books have addressed. Simplistic answers and platitudes fail to supply satisfactory responses. And yet, for those of us who follow Jesus Christ, we find no admonition that suggests we limit times of thanksgiving only to pleasant experiences.

    As we prepare for Thanksgiving Day later this week, or whenever a similar event is celebrated where you live, it might be useful to consider what the Bible teaches about the giving of thanks:

    No exceptions. Sometimes we might be tempted to think, “Okay, God, I will be thankful when good things come my way. But do not expect me to be thankful for hardships!” In the Scriptures, God does not give that option. “Be joyful always…give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

    Take a hard look at difficult times. Why would God expect us to express thanks to Him even during times of struggle? Because if we consider them honestly, we can realize those are often the times we grow the most and develop, personally, professionally and spiritually. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that 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).

    Trials separate the genuine from the counterfeit. One way we can prove we possess certain skills or abilities is to demonstrate them in action. In a similar way, how we respond to difficult times – including our willingness to be thankful for them – reveals the genuineness of our faith and trust in God. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed(1 Peter 1:6-7).

    © 2018. Robert J. Tamasy has written Business at Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace; Tufting Legacies;coauthored with David A. Stoddard, The Heart of Mentoring, and edited numerous other books, including Advancing Through Adversityby Mike Landry. Bob’s biweekly blog is: www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com.

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. What are your general thoughts about Thanksgiving Day – or another similar event when a time for expressing thanks is observed?

     

    1. When you assess the past year, things you have experienced in your business, at work, and various areas of your personal life, do you feel thankful – or some other emotion? Explain your answer.

     

    1. How do you express thanks for what God has done – or is doing – in your life?

     

    1. Do you think it is reasonable to be expected to feel thankful for difficulties you encounter in life and work? Why or why not?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages: Psalm 34:1-9; Ephesians 5:20; Hebrews 12:11; 1 Peter 4:12-13, 5:10

  6. The Power Of ‘Listenership’

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    November 12, 2018 – Jim Mathis  When my wife and I sold our custom photo lab in 1996 and joined the staff of CBMC, my adviser, Ted Hubbard, an attorney and judge from England, gave us a five-year plan. He offered some sage advice, recommending I do nothing the first year but listen, meeting with as many people as I could and hearing what was on their hearts.

    The second year, Ted said, I should do much of the same but ask some more probing questions. The third year, as he suggested, I was to begin putting together a picture of what people had been saying. The fourth year was the time to start making a plan, Ted advised, and then begin putting the plan into place in the fifth year.

    For many of us in the marketplace, this seems counterintuitive. We need to get something done – and right now! But I discovered there also was great wisdom in what Ted Hubbard told me to do, to listen intently to people, seriously consider what they were saying, and then develop a plan of action in response to what they had told me.

    What I heard most often those first three years was that people were lonely. They needed somewhere they could simply “hang out,” where they had no responsibilities or expectations. They wanted a place to get together with friends where conversations on topics like spirituality, culture, art and music were encouraged. In short, a meeting place that would become the center of a community and serve as a source of light to the surrounding area.

    This idea led us to open Homer’s Coffee House in 2001. Seventeen years later it is still going strong, and many people say Homer’s was a catalyst to the turnaround in downtown Overland Park. The area has seen explosive, positive growth, much of it due to people meeting at the coffeehouse and discussing hopes for the area’s future.

    In 2008, when we handed off the leadership of Homer’s to another couple, I returned to the photography business and again drew on Ted’s advice about listening. I learned people loved old photographs and wanted somebody to care for and restore their old, faded and damaged photos. Now most of my business is restoring photographs.

    I think of this “listening and waiting” process when I hear of companies hiring new managers, presidents or CEOs and expecting immediate change. Failing to initiate major changes in six months, they may find themselves on the way out. But effective leadership includes listening and caring about people. We might even call it “listeningship.”

    Here are just a few principles about listening from the Bible that merit our consideration:

    The fine art of keeping quiet. It is hard to listen to people when we are always busy talking. “When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, but he who restrains his lips is wise” (Proverbs 10:19).

    Speaking, and listening, at the right speeds. One reason we have trouble listening is that we are focusing on what we plan to say next. When we take time to actively listen, we might discover what we intended to say was wrong, or we might not need to say anything at all. Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry(James 1:19).

    Two ears for listening, only one mouth for speaking. Perhaps the reason God gave us two ears, and only one mouth, is because He wants us to spend twice as much time listening as speaking. “Ears that hear and eyes that see – the Lord has made them both” (Proverbs 20:12). “He who answers before listening – that is his folly and shame” (Proverbs 18:13).

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

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. Our enterprises might not provide us with the luxury of simply listening to our customers and clients for the first few years, but what do you think about determining to spend significant time listening before moving into action?

     

    1. Can you think of a time when you determined to actively listen to what people were saying and thinking, and you were surprised by what you heard? If so, describe that situation.

     

    1. Do you agree with the statement that listening and caring are important elements of effective leadership – “listeningship”? Why or why not?

     

    1. Why do you think many leaders seem so reluctant to take/invest time in listening to those they are assigned to lead?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages: Proverbs 14:29, 15:7,23, 16:21,23, 17:4,27,28, 21:23, 29:20

  7. What Successful Executives Do Differently

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    November 5, 2018 – Rick Boxx  Leadership consultant Ron Carucci, appearing in a Harvard Business Review video, claims that 50-60 percent of executives fail in their first executive role. Because of this, Carucci studied successful executives to find what they did differently from those who did not succeed. He discovered four key factors.

    The first factor is Breadth. New executives tend to have a narrow view of business. Understanding the whole picture of any organization is critical in having the breadth of knowledge necessary for making wise decisions.

    We see a good example of this shortcoming in the Bible. The apostle Peter was someone who had a hard time seeing the big picture. On one occasion, Jesus gave this rebuke to Peter, “You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s”(Matthew 16:23).

    In their leadership roles, successful executives seek understanding about all aspects of their organizations.

    The second factor Carucci found is Context.Successful executives do the work necessary to gain understanding of trends in their culture, industry, and within their organization. Having a grasp on context will enable you to make wiser and more informed choices.

    Again, in the Scriptures we find a model for this approach to leadership. In 1 Chronicles 12:32, we read about one family that understood the importance of context in decision-making: “The sons of Issachar, men who understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do.”

    When thrust into a new role, successful executives invest time for studying trends and gaining context so they can better serve their organizations.

    The third factor is Choice. Every day brings many options from which to choose. For example, executives must decide where they can best invest their time. If you have ever held an executive role, you already know there are many who believe their project is the best use of your time. But true success comes from being able to say “no” to the distractions and “yes” only to opportunities critical to the mission.

    As Jesus said in Matthew 7:14, “But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”Successful executives learn to say “no” frequently, so they have time for the more important choices.

    The final factor Carucci discovered is Connections.Successful executives know that connecting with others, by building strong relationships and trust, is critical. Establishing the right connections will enable them to leverage those relationships and build trust so that others can help them accomplish their goals. We could cite example after example that could show how working in isolation is not an effective leadership strategy.

    We find this principle addressed in 1 John 4:7, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.”Loving others in one’s workplace is a powerful way to build relationships and trust. In most instances, this leads to mutual success.

    Copyright 2018, Unconventional Business Network. 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, visitwww.unconventionalbusiness.org. His latest book, Unconventional Business,provides “Five Keys to Growing a Business God’s Way.”

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. Before reading this “Monday Manna,” what reasons would you have suggested to explain why the majority of executives encounter failure in their first executive roles?

     

    1. Which of the four factors Carucci presented seems most critical to you? Explain your answer.

     

    1. How can an executive succeed in gaining a broader view of the organization, its culture and its needs? What are some steps you think would be helpful in that regard?

     

    1. The last factor Carucci cited is Connections – or relationships. Why would you think many executives fail in this area? How would you assess your own effectiveness in terms of connections and relationships?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages: Proverbs 11:14, 15:22, 19:20, 27:17,23; Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; Acts 6:3-4; Hebrews 13:17

  8. Time: Friend or Foe?

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    October 29, 2018 – Robert J. Tamasy  In the business and professional world, as well as other areas of life, time is somewhat of a paradox. When facing an inflexible deadline, time seems to move incredibly fast, escalating our stress levels. But when we are anxiously awaiting an important decision – perhaps a job promotion, or a potential client deciding whether to sign a contract – the pace of time can seem to slow down significantly.

    During a recent trip to Italy, I observed what occurs in much of Europe. Businesses, including retailers and restaurants, often close during the midafternoon hours to allow everyone to take a rest and become refreshed. It is not uncommon for individuals in Europe to take several weeks, even a month, off from work during the summer months.

    Americans, by contrast, often seem enslaved by time. Many are reluctant to take vacations, for fear a competitor will gain an edge on them or, perhaps, their boss will find someone else to fill their position while they are gone. Some workers even gobble down lunches at their desks, afraid of falling behind in their job demands.

    Just weeks ago, I underwent a second heart surgery, which presented me with a different perspective on time. This surgery, to replace a damaged aortic valve, was accomplished through a much less invasive procedure than my open-heart surgery nearly 12 years ago. So the recovery has been much easier and faster; but the seriousness of the operation still helped to put things in perspective.

    From a job standpoint, the work I do, although I believe it is important, would quickly be done by someone else if I were no longer able to do it. Some of the things I do simply would no longer be done at all. But from the standpoint of relationships I have – with my wife, children, grandchildren, friends, and the men I meet with in mentoring/discipling relationships – that is where my absence would be felt the most.

    So the question is: Moving forward, where is my time best invested? Not to say I should not continue to do the work I enjoy and feel called to do, but not at the expense of time I should be spending with the important people in my life.

    In the Bible, it admonishes us to “redeem the time for the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16). This does not mean time is inherently bad, but the passage of time continues relentlessly, whether we attempt to use it wisely or not. I recall the classes in time management I attended years ago. In reality, “time management” is a misnomer because we cannot “manage” it. We cannot put it into a safety deposit box or a self-storage unit for later use. It is not a commodity we can preserve; we can only resolve to utilize it as effectively and meaningfully as possible.

    Another biblical passage on time, Ecclesiastes 3:1-18, offers the perspective. “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven….” To me, this means there are times for focusing my attention and energy to meet critical deadlines, but also there are times for being with my family, pursuing favorite pastimes or hobbies, or simply seeking to restore myself physically, mentally and spiritually. As someone has said, it is unlikely anyone on their deathbed has sincerely announced with regret, “I wish I had spent more time at work.”

    © 2018. Robert J. Tamasy has written Business at Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace; Tufting Legacies;coauthored with David A. Stoddard, The Heart of Mentoring, and edited numerous other books, including Advancing Through Adversityby Mike Landry. Bob’s biweekly blog is: www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com.

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. Does it seem that time passes quickly sometimes, and drags along very slowly in other circumstances? Why do you think this is the case?

     

    1. Have you ever thought about the irony of studying “time management,” when the passage of time cannot truly be managed or controlled?

     

    1. Where do you fall in terms of time/work philosophy? Are you diligent to take time off from work when you have the opportunity, enjoying being able to rest and rejuvenate? Or do you typically regard time as an enemy, determining to cram as much work and activity as possible into every waking minute or hour? In either case, what serves as your motivation?

     

    1. How do you – or could you – go about “redeeming the time” more effectively?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about principles it presents, consider the following passages: Proverbs 23:4-5; Ecclesiastes 3:1-18; Galatians 6:10; Colossians 4:5-6

  9. Being A Person of Positive Influence

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    October 22, 2018 – Jim Langley  Several years ago I attended a CBMC conference where the keynote speaker was Dr. Tim Elmore, a best-selling author, international speaker, and president and founder of Growing Leaders, a non-profit that helps emerging leaders, with the belief that each person is born with leadership qualities. Elmore offered nine principles he considers critical in the mentoring process, concepts we should all consider as we disciple younger men and women in the faith. He started with an acronym to explain this process: I-N-F-L-U-E-N-C-E. I would like to briefly review each step in his list as he explained it:

    First, we must make an Intentionalinvestment in the lives of those God places under our tutelage. We need to continually make deposits into their lives, just as the apostle Paul did with his protégé Timothy. CBMC has developed “Operation Timothy” as an excellent tool for fostering spiritual growth in others. In 2 Timothy 2:2, Paul wrote,“And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.”

    Next, we must be Naturaland authentic in our approach as we meet with those God places in our path. We do not need to impress them with our biblical knowledge and worldly accomplishments. They do need to sense our willingness to help them as they advance in their life journey.

    Our Faithneeds to be evident and real. We must not only demonstrate our faith in Christ, but also show faith in those we are mentoring. We should “expect the best”from each person and trust God will surely bring out the best as we invest in those who are truly serious about growing in Christ.

    We must develop our Listeningskills to earn the right to speak to them. In a sense, younger men and women are “students” God has placed in our lives to assist in a journey filled with “many dangers, toils and snares,” as the hymn, “Amazing Grace,” expresses it.

    Each person we mentor is unique and we must seek to Understandthem and where their journey has taken them. Since God has made us all distinctly different with very different experiences, a “cookie cutter” approach cannot work effectively with every person.

    They will need much Encouragementto overcome many obstacles that can prevent them from realizing their full potential as followers of Jesus Christ. Hebrews 10:24-25 tells us to “consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds…let us encourage one another.”

    We must also Navigatethem through the twists and turns of their journey, sometimes even serving as their compass to guide them on the right path and keep them from becoming sidetracked by ungodly influences.

    It is critical to demonstrate a consistent Concernfor their well-being. They must see and experience our constant care for their growth in Christ, being available as they will struggle with many issues, especially early in their journey. In 1 Thessalonians 2:7-8, the apostle Paul writes of being “gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.”

    They need to see our Enthusiasmin all we say and do. If we cannot be excited about our relationship with Christ, then we probably are not properly prepared for mentoring of a new disciple who truly wants to know Christ intimately. The discipling process needs to be taken both seriously and enthusiastically.

    © 2018, all rights reserved. Jim Langley has been writing for more than 30 years while working as a life and health insurance agent. His passion is to write about his personal relationship with God. His goal is to encourage others to draw near to Him. A long-time member of CBMC, he started writing “Fourth Quarter Strategies” in 2014.

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. Who has been the person (or persons) to have influenced you most to this point in life, both professionally and spiritually? How have they exerted that influence?

     

    1. Which of the nine points cited to describe how we can influence others seems most important to you? Explain your answer.

     

    1. Why do you think Listening is mentioned as an important aspect of effectively influencing others?

     

    1. Care and concern are listed as critical elements of the process of influencing people in mentoring or discipling relationships? Why, in your view, are these important – aren’t possessing knowledge and expertise enough?

     

    NOTE: If you would like to consider other things the Bible says about this topic, read and reflect on the following passages: Matthew 28:18-19; Ephesians 4:14-16; Colossians 1:9-12; 2 Thessalonians 1:3-4;
    2 Peter 3:17-18

  10. The Virtue of Exceeding Expectations

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    October 15, 2018 – Robert J. Tamasy  Often people in business deal with a temptation to do the bare minimum, to satisfy the requirements but not go the “extra mile” in serving the customer, the supplier, or even the employee. Such thinking, however, can be very short-sighted. Not to mention self-centered, rather than others-centered.

    Contrary to this type of approach to business, I have been delighted to work with a number of companies whose expressed desire and goal is to “exceed expectations.” They want to be certain to do more than they had contracted to do. They want each customer’s experience to be so memorable that they will be eager to do business with them again. Not only that, but to provide services in such a manner that “satisfied customer” recommendations and referrals would be virtually guaranteed.

    Recently my wife and I took part in an 11-day group tour to many parts of Italy. It was truly one of those “exceeded our expectations” experiences. It wasn’t perfect; some of the hotels we stayed in were better than others. But our guide for the entire tour was exceptional; the motorcoach in which we rode was new and comfortable; the driver was first-class; and each of the stops on our tour had been carefully chosen to provide a broad cross-section of Italian life and culture. Especially for first-time visitors to Italy.

    I do not know if the tour agency had this in mind, but a commitment to exceeding the expectations of whomever we happen to be serving – customer, supplier or employee – is reflective of Jesus’ admonition that we should, “in everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you”(Matthew 7:12).

    Not long ago several friends were talking about their differing experiences at local restaurants. For one, when the meal order was clearly inaccurate, the worker simply responded, “Well, I don’t know what you expect me to do about that.” Wow! Would that motivate you to return to that restaurant?

    Another friend had a very different experience, however. He and his wife had eaten at another restaurant several times, enough for a particular server to recognize them and remember their dining preferences. This type of service, which definitely exceeded their expectations, has made them loyal and frequent customers – ones that reward their good service with generous tips.

    In doing business with others, it is easy to become memorable: memorably good, or memorably bad. If we want to  develop lasting relationships, “memorably good” is always the better option, don’t you think? Several places in the Scriptures, including Romans 13:8, Galatians 5:14 and James 2:8, we see the admonition that we are to “love your neighbor as yourself.”It is doubtful that we could conceive of a greater core value than that.

    Making a profit is important. As is staying in business and growing the business. Mastering our craft is essential. But if we are loving our “neighbor” as ourselves – our customers, suppliers, and those who work for us or with us – profits and growth are almost certain to follow.

    If my wife and I ever decide to take tour another country, you can bet we will be quick to consider the company that unpretentiously succeeded in exceeding our expectations. And keeping our recent trip in mind is a good reminder for me to strive to exceed the expectations of others.

    © 2018. Robert J. Tamasy has written Business at Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace; Tufting Legacies;coauthored with David A. Stoddard, The Heart of Mentoring, and edited numerous other books, including Advancing Through Adversityby Mike Landry. Bob’s biweekly blog is: www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com.

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. Describe the last time someone exceeded your expectations? What did they do that seemed so exceptional – or how did they do it to make such a positive impression?

     

    1. Why do you think it seems so rare to find a business truly dedicated to surpassing the expectations of their customers?

     

    1. How about your own approach to work and those you encounter in business: Are you more inclined to do the bare minimum to satisfy requirements, or do you have a conscious goal of not only meeting expectations but also exceeding them, if at all possible?

     

    1. What do you think is the long-term benefit of having an attitude that strives toward exceeding expectations? Is there a downside to this type of approach to business? If so, what do you think it is?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about principles it presents, consider the following passages: Proverbs 3:27-28, 11:25, 16:7; Matthew 22:34-40; Luke 6:31; Acts 20:35