Category Archive: Monday Manna

  1. Expecting Holiness In Business?

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    January 20, 2020 – Robert J. Tamasy  Suppose you were to try identifying the traits you feel are most important for an employer, an employee, a customer or client, or a supplier. What would they be? It might seem simple to list qualities such as talent, skill, dependability and effectiveness, along with some others. But how about…holiness?

    Holiness? When we hear that word, it conjures images of religious people and rites, perhaps someone sequestered in a secluded monastery somewhere engaging in rituals that have no connection with everyday life and work. But in truth, that is not what “holiness” is about.

    Yes, one dictionary defines the word as “the quality or state of being holy.” Synonyms suggested include “blessedness, devoutness, godliness, piety, piousness, saintliness.” All these terms seem to have nothing to do with the marketplace, at least in the 21st century. But a speaker I heard recently explained that at its roots, holiness means things such as “wholeness, integrity, and quality.”

    In that context, would it not be desirable to find “holiness” in those for whom we work, those who work for us, people who buy our goods and services, and those who provide resources that we need? Would it not be desirable for others to find those characteristics of holiness in ourselves?

    I must admit there have been few times – if any – when I thought, “there goes someone who exhibits holiness.” However, as I reflect upon the thousands of individuals I have encountered through my career in many different settings, some people have demonstrated distinctive, even unusual wholeness, integrity, quality, humility, compassion, honesty and sincerity. They certainly would have into  the aforementioned speaker’s definition of holiness.

    So, how do we respond to this idea? How do we find holiness in others? How can – or should – we cultivate it in ourselves? It is not surprising that the Bible offers some suggestions:

    Seek out and emulate people who model holiness. Is there anyone you know who, in terms of wholeness, integrity, quality and similar virtues, could fit into the “holiness” category? If there is, try to spend time with that person, even pursue him or her as a mentor and teacher. Then seek to become like them and positively influence others. “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice…” (Philippians 4:9). “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” (2 Timothy 2:2).

    Pursue a different way of thinking. We work and live in settings where holiness seems an alien concept. The world around us wants to “press us into its mold.” By a conscious act of the will, we can resist such pressure and strive for higher standards of thought and action. “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 approved what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).

    Appropriate the power to become a holy person. The Bible teaches those who have committed their lives to following Jesus Christ have been given new life, a new capacity to live in a way they could not previously. “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires, to be made new in the attitude of your minds” (Ephesians 4:22-24).

    © 2020. Robert J. Tamasy has written numerous books, including Marketplace Ambassadors: CBMC’s Continuing Legacy of Evangelism and Discipleship; Business at Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace; Tufting Legacies; The Heart of Mentoring, coauthored with David A. Stoddard; and has edited other books. Bob’s biweekly blog is: www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com.

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. When you hear the words “holiness” or “holy,” what comes to mind? Have you ever encountered a person that you regarded as holy, or who displayed holiness in their life? If so, describe what that person is (or was) like.

     

    1. Why do you think the term “holiness” has such an unfamiliar ring to it, especially when considered within the context of today’s workplace?

     

    1. If you are a follower of Jesus, have you experienced evidence of a new life, as the Bible describes it? Explain your answer. If you are not yet a follower of Jesus, or are not certain, does the idea of gaining a new life spiritually – even to experience holiness – have appeal for you?

     

    1. Would you like to one day regarded as a holy person, a person that exhibited holiness, even in the marketplace? What do you think that would look like? How could you go about cultivating qualifies of holiness?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more consider the following passages: John 15:1-17; Romans 6:4; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 2:20; Philippians 4:13; Colossians 3:1-10

  2. Matters Of Faith – And Why Faith Matters

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    January 13, 2020 – Jim Langley  “Faith” is not a word we often use in the 21st century marketplace, where only things tangible and measurable are prized. However, in one way or another, we all possess and exercise faith. We might define faith as “trust or complete confidence in something or someone.” Many people limit their trust to what they can do on their own, and place little or no faith in others. Where do you place your faith?

    Personally, I have found that faith in others, and especially in God, my Heavenly Father, allows me to live life more fully. Finding and nurturing meaningful faith can bring about a paradigm shift in how we approach every day of our complex lives. Life can be so much more rewarding when we allow others to enter into our world.

    In our business lives, it is easy to curl up into a ball, like a hedgehog, and not allow others to get close to us. When a hedgehog assumes this defensive posture, it becomes immobile and can go nowhere! I have known many focused executives who live defensively, refusing to allow those around them to invade their domain.

    These may gain some level of success but are missing the opportunity to greatly expand their horizons. If they would open up and let others into their space, their business endeavors could become much more productive. They apparently fear the influence of others and wish to receive all the credit for whatever they might accomplish.

    However, in reality, teamwork is critical in all we do in life. In Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, King Solomon wrote, “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.”

    Then he concludes the thought by observing, “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not easily broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:12). I have adopted this as one of my life verses from the Bible, and over the years have seen our family make it through very challenging times, knowing the Lord is that “third strand” that kept us strong through it all. It was faith – first in God, and then in one another.

    There is a right way to live our lives. In Romans 1:17, the apostle Paul proclaimed, “For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.’” That applies to every aspect of our existence on this planet, including the time we spend in the business and professional world. If we attempt to conduct our lives without letting others and God become part of the equation, sooner or later we will find ourselves being deceived. Worse yet, we will realize we are out of God’s will and failing to pursue His purpose for our lives.

    Proverbs 14:8-9 teaches, “The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception. Fools mock at making amends for sin, but good will is found among the upright.” Those who cut themselves off from the good people around them, failing to trust in them and appreciate what they can contribute, and also ignoring what God’s Word instructs, are on a road that leads to a dead end.

    They are being deceived by the self-centered culture that surrounds them. As Proverbs 27:17 affirms, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” And as Jesus said, “…apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). If we want to experience well-rounded, fulfilling lives, we need to let others into our daily affairs. If we want an abundant life, you need to let God into our every thought, allowing Him to take control of our lives. The Lord also said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).

    © 2020 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 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. When you hear the word “faith,” what comes to your mind? What would be your own definition of what it means to have faith?

     

    1. What does it mean to have faith in God, especially in the world of work? Is this important for you? Why or why not?

     

    1. What does it mean to have faith in others as we conduct our daily activities and carry out our responsibilities in the business and professional world? How easy is it for you to place your trust in others, rather than attempting to accomplish your goals solely on your own?

     

    1. How might you be able to exert and demonstrate more faith – both in God and others – in how you conduct your everyday life? Is this something you are even willing to do? Explain your answer.

     

    NOTE: For more about what the Bible says consider the following passages: Psalm 97:10-12; Proverbs 16:1-3; Isaiah 26:1-4;
    1 Corinthians 12:12-26; Hebrews 12:1

  3. When Failure Becomes Success

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    January 6, 2020 – Rick Boxx  Early in my practice as a business consultant, I submitted a bid on a consulting project for a mortgage lender named Tom. During a follow-up interview, I explained to him about my biblical approach to consulting, Tom’s gaze suddenly went cold. Our discussion and the meeting came to an abrupt end. Tom clearly did not appreciate the perspective I would be using; needless to say, I did not get the project.

    Since I was still fairly new as a consultant, I chalked it up to failure on my part. I wondered how I might have handled the meeting differently but did not regret telling him about my beliefs and the way they influenced how I would approach issues in his business. As the apostle Paul wrote, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes…” (Romans 1:16).

    I also knew that if we did not share the same value system and motivations, trying to work together would have failed anyway. One of the Bible’s most practical warnings that relate to the marketplace is found in 2 Corinthians 6:14, which admonishes, “Do not be bound together with unbelievers, for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?” This did not mean I was to pass judgment on Tom and his own values, but it reminded me that we would be unable to strive for the same goals.

    What I had perceived as failure, however, proved to be anything but that. About two years later, Tom’s brother informed me that when he chose not to utilize my consulting services, Tom instead hired another individual who proceeded to steal $40,000 from his company. Obviously, the other person did not share my biblical perspective on how to operate a business!

    That experience launched Tom on a spiritual journey, one that ultimately resulted in his life becoming totally transformed by a relationship with Jesus Christ. What I had perceived as failure became God’s success.

    Stories like this are not unusual. We see them frequently in the Bible. For instance, after Moses initially asked Pharaoh to release the Israelites from slavery, Moses felt like a failure when Pharaoh refused. However, in Exodus 11:9 we discover the Lord had told Moses in advance, “Pharaoh will refuse to listen to you – so that my wonders may be multiplied in Egypt.” God often uses times of apparent failure as opportunities for Him to display His power and carry out His will.

    What is most important is not whether we experience the results we had hoped for, but rather that we remain obedient to the Lord – even if it means failing to achieve our own goals and objectives. Obedience to God is success even if it is first viewed as failure, and He delights in demonstrating how He can turn apparent failure into success beyond our greatest hopes.

    The book of Proverbs has much to say about this. For instance, Proverbs 16:3 offers this encouragement: “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” This does not necessarily mean things will work out as we expect them to, but in the end, God will grant us success – sometimes beyond our hopes.

    We are also advised not to be surprised when the Lord modifies our plans: “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps” (Proverbs 16:9). Another verse says, “A man’s steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand his own way?” (Proverbs 20:24). We can trust that our Father knows best.

    © 2020, 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, visit www.unconventionalbusiness.org. His latest book, Unconventional Business, provides “Five Keys to Growing a Business God’s Way.”

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. Have you ever experienced a time when apparent failure turned into success? What was that experience like – and how did you feel about it?

     

    1. What does this tell you about the importance of remaining true to your convictions, even when the outcome is not what you expected or hoped for?

     

    1. How do you think God can use your failures not only to bring about success, but also to make you into the person He intends for you to become?

     

    1. Realizing that God’s plans might be different from your own, how can this affect the way you proceed in your planning process?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages: Psalm 37:4-5;
    Proverbs 3:5-6, 16:4, 19:21, 21:30-31, 22:12, 24:19-20, 27:1; Jeremiah 33:3

  4. One Thing We All Could Use In The New Year

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    December 30, 2019 – Robert J. Tamasy  All around the world, clocks and calendars are counting down. By this time next week, we will have entered another year, either bidding a fond farewell to the year just passed or simply saying, “Good riddance!” Each new year represents an opportunity for a fresh start. If the past year was a successful one, it is a chance to build on that success. If not, we can resolve to fix what was broken.

    Since we only get one shot at each new year, we typically seek to maximize the “newness” by reflecting on the past, taking a deep breath, and then plunging into whatever the next year has to offer. With that in mind, if you were to identify the most important things you hope to achieve during the coming year, what would they be? Greater profits? A long-awaited promotion? A job change?

    One thing many of us might not include on such a list is peace. Not world peace, since that is something we have little if any control over. Living in a world filled with turmoil and chaos, it seems unlikely that will change anytime soon. But amid the continual upheaval that surrounds us, is it possible to attain inner peace that external circumstances cannot touch?

    In search of this, some turn to spiritual alternatives, such as meditation or mysticism. Blocking out the external, physical world to cultivate our internal, spiritual selves. There are many books, websites and workshops for those who choose such options. These may be helpful, to one degree or another.

    However, there is one time-tested, enduring source of peace that countless millions of people through the centuries have found for connecting both the spiritual and the physical worlds in which they live. Here are some of the many peace-giving promises we find in the Bible:

    Peace through Jesus Christ. The Scriptures called Jesus the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). Nearing the conclusion of His earthly ministry, Jesus promised to give them a kind of peace unlike anything they had ever experienced. “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).

    Peace beyond all human comprehension. Sometimes the challenges and hardships of everyday living seem without solution. How can we experience peace when enduring such difficult times? The apostle Paul, no stranger to adversity, offered this assurance for followers of Jesus: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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 in the midst of trials. We often regain a sense of peace when difficulties subside, but Jesus promised His followers they could enjoy peace in the midst of them. I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

    Peace: a promise, and a command. Those of who profess faith in Christ are instructed not only to believe assurances of peace, but also to act on those promises. “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace” (Colossians 3:15).

    © 2019. Robert J. Tamasy has written numerous books, including Marketplace Ambassadors: CBMC’s Continuing Legacy of Evangelism and Discipleship; Business at Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace; Tufting Legacies; The Heart of Mentoring, coauthored with David A. Stoddard; and edited other books, including Advancing Through Adversity by Mike Landry. Bob’s biweekly blog is: www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com.

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. How would you define “peace”? What does it look like or feel like when you are experiencing peace in your life, even if it is momentary?

     

    1. In your opinion, why is peace such an elusive quality in our world today? Do you think the hope of having true inner peace that transcends external circumstances is realistic? Why or why not?

     

    1. Have you ever experienced a time of unusual inner peace despite extremely difficult trials you had encountered in your life? If so, describe what that was like for you.

     

    1. Does the idea of having a sense of peace in the marketplace differ from the kind of peace you can experience in one’s personal life, apart from work responsibilities? Explain your answer.

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more consider the following passages:
    Psalm 23:1-6, 29:10-11; John 20:21; Romans 15:13; Galatians 5:22-23; Ephesians 2:11-18

  5. Celebrating The Giving Season’s Greatest Gift

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    December 23, 2019 – Robert J. Tamasy  This week millions of people around the world will observe one of the most significant holidays of the year: Christmas. Although the practice varies from country to country, and culture to culture, one of the hallmarks of this annual celebration is the giving and exchange of gifts.

    For the business and professional world, this giving tradition may include individual gifts to employees and staff, special remembrances for clients, customers and suppliers, festive parties, and in some cases, end-of-year bonuses. In addition, many of us are spending these final days making certain that we have completed our gift purchases for loved ones and friends.

    As we enjoy this time of year, reveling in both the receiving and giving of gifts, it would be good to trace the origins of this tradition. Those who regard themselves as Christians or followers of Jesus Christ know this season has additional, profound meaning that transcends the bestowing of material resources to one another. Because as we are told in the Scriptures, Jesus was the foremost, incomparable gift from God to all of humankind. A verse very familiar to many of us says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

    The gospel of Matthew tells us the coming Messiah was such an extraordinary, much-anticipated event that magi – wise men from the East – came to visit Jesus after His birth, and carried gifts of gold, incense and myrrh to present to Him. However, the Bible makes it clear that God was the original Gift Giver. Here are just some of the things we learn about this unique, divine Gift:

    Bread of Life. In the Scriptures, “bread” is synonymous with the necessities of life, those things that sustain us. Jesus, in the gospel of John, declares, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty…. Here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. I am the bread of life that came down from heaven….”

    (John 6:35-51). He is telling us that to truly live, not only in this life but in the life promised to come, we must receive Him.

    Good Shepherd. People in biblical times were accustomed to the presence of sheep in their agrarian society, and they knew how dependent those wooly creatures were on the care and concern of their shepherds. Recognizing that we, too, require guidance, provision and protection to navigate challenges and complexities of everyday life, Jesus assured His followers, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep…. I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me – just as the Father knows me and I know the Father – and I lay down my life for the sheep” (John 10:11-15).

    Light of the World. Increasingly, despite incredible technological advances, we live in a world that seems overwhelmed by darkness and despair. Where can we turn for hope? Jesus said we can turn to Him to escape the darkness and, as we resolved to faithfully follow Him, can bring light to others. “…I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life….You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden” (John 8:12, Matthew 5:14). He is saying that as we walk in His light, we can reflect His light to others.

    © 2019. Robert J. Tamasy has written numerous books, including Marketplace Ambassadors: CBMC’s Continuing Legacy of Evangelism and Discipleship; Business at Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace; Tufting Legacies; The Heart of Mentoring, coauthored with David A. Stoddard; and edited other books, including Advancing Through Adversity by Mike Landry. Bob’s biweekly blog is: www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com.

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. Describe your favorite part of Christmas and this season of celebration. Is it a time of special meaning for you? Why or why not?

     

    1. What is the best Christmas gift you have ever given? What is the greatest gift you have ever received? Explain your answer.

     

    1. When you read, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son,” what does that mean to you? Why is Jesus Christ regarded as a gift from God?

     

    1. Which of the phrases Jesus used to describe Himself seem most meaningful to you? Can you think of any other titles or terms for Him that have also been important to you?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more consider the following passages:
    Matthew 5:13; John 10:1-18, 14:6, 15:18, 16:5-15; Romans 6:23; 1 Corinthians 1-11

  6. Simply Showing Sensitivity

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    December 16, 2019 – Jim Langley  One of the things in short supply in today’s marketplace is sensitivity. This can be defined as “tuning in” to the needs of those who come into our lives every day. We can easily become distant from those we should be closest to, casually tuning them out. But sensitivity can be critical for both business and personal relationships. Demonstrating it makes a tremendous difference in our everyday relationships.

    However, sensitivity is not only about the quality and tone of our conversations. It also can require sacrificing a significant amount of time to address the needs of others. This includes active listening, and then responding in ways that show we do care and are putting people’s concerns above our own.

    Relationships are integral to a meaningful, fulfilling life. As a young boy, my only relationships were with family members; as an only child for 10 years, I never experienced how strong, positive relationships could be formed. The concept of forming lasting relationships came to me later in life, after Jesus Christ came into my life as Savior and Lord. This took place after two divorces and many missed friendship opportunities. When we are self-absorbed, we put ourselves first, at the cost of relationships.

    Much has been written about the “art” of listening. But no one modeled this better than Jesus Christ. What He did so best was to add two letters to the word. You could say Jesus added “He” to “art,” demonstrating the “Heart” of listening. He was also able to sense the needs of both the masses and individuals as He performed miracles and taught those willing to listen how they could have an eternal relationship with God.

    We too have the ability to develop a listening heart, but this comes at a price. It is not something we can turn on and off like a faucet. We must remain attuned to circumstances the Lord puts around us, while keeping in tune with His desires for our lives. This is not easy, but possible through God’s power.

    In Ephesians 4:22-24, the apostle Paul explains to those who had chosen to follow Christ, “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” I believe this is the only way to truly discover and learn how to be sensitive to the needs of others.

    We do not  need to attend sensitivity training sessions to learn how to be sensitive to the needs of others. What we need is a changed heart, along with an understanding of how to love others – even when they aren’t lovable. This is how Jesus loved, and how God our Heavenly Father loves us. He is listening to our needs, but needs us to allow Jesus to guide us to the only path for lasting peace and true happiness.

    Sensitivity comes from “tuning in” to God first. As we do this, He begins the lifelong process of changing our hearts, making us more and more like Him. “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holding and pleasing to God. This is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” (Romans 12:1-2).

    © 2019, 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 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 has been your experience with sensitivity in the workplace? How would you describe what sensitivity looks like when it is being properly demonstrated?

     

    1. How would you describe yourself in terms of being able to show sensitivity toward others?

     

    1. What are the benefits of striving to have and display sensitivity toward others? Are there downsides of sensitivity in the workplace? Explain your answer.

     

    1. Do you think that Jesus Christ served as a good example of sensitivity toward others? Why or why not?

     

    NOTE: For more about what the Bible says consider the following passages:
    Psalm 34:11-16; Philippians 2:3-4; Colossians 3:5-10; Hebrews 4:14-16; 1 Peter 3:8-9

  7. Discomforting Facts About The Comfort Zone

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    December 9, 2019 – Sergio M. Fortes  Several months back, an edition of Monday Manna discussed something many of us have encountered: the comfort zone. It seemed fitting to revisit this topic, since it is a common issue of the everyday workplace, as well as people’s lives. It is where we like to be and feel least threatened; it is familiar and predictable. It seems comfortable because we are not being stretched and challenged beyond our normal practices.

    Our individual “comfort zone” can be identified through specific actions, thoughts, concepts and behaviors, which become a permanent habit. The comfort zone brings the benefits of harmony, without fear, anxiety, or risk. However, life in the comfort zone can prevent us from achieving more than we knew that we could. It keeps us from discovering we have greater capacities than we realized, because we refuse to extend ourselves beyond what we already know. The comfort zone prevents us from exploring new ideas, blocks questions, and inhibits decision-making.

    Enjoying the benefits of safety and the feeling that everything is under our control, we often find it difficult to change that status quo. However, rather than being an asset, the comfort zone can lead a company or a individual onto the path that fosters boredom, stagnation, dissatisfaction, envy towards others, and supplies excuses for everything.

    Choosing to remain in the comfort zone means giving up the development process, as well as opportunities for growth. It could be regarded as aborting one’s professional life. The years pass unchallenged, and the stagnant life becomes impoverished. Escaping from the comfort zone leads to discovering new opportunities and potential, the conquest of greater trust, increases in creativity, and even revival of the will to live.

    The Scriptures present numerous examples of people who seemed very comfortable where they were, doing what they had been doing. But God had bigger and better plans for them. To accomplish those, He needed to force them out of their comfort zones. Here are a few of them:

    The Challenge to Abram. God challenged Abram: “Leave your country, your family, and your father’s home”, going to a land that he would show him (Genesis 12.1-3). Despite the fabulous promise that he would become “the father of a great nation,” it was quite an attack on Abram’s comfort zone. The word “leave” in Hebrew is “lech-lecha,” a nearly identical two-term word play. The first means, “Go,” and the second, “To yourself.” It meant Abram’s traumatic departure from his homeland, with the challenge to seek his most authentic identity.

    The Huge Project of the Promised Land. For Israel, a people used to the sameness of four centuries of routine, God’s instruction for them to leave in pursuit of the Promised Land must have been an overwhelming rattle to the nation’s comfort zone. Great leaders were raised by God who guided them precisely during the process we know as the “exodus.” It serves as a unique story for how to face and overcome the comfort zone.

    Exploring the Other Side. Jesus Christ challenged His disciples: “Let us go across to the other side” (Mark 4:35). They knew that sea very well. They knew how to navigate it comfortably. But getting to the other side was a great challenge: it was late, and going there could be risky. Then, soon after they left, a raging storm began! Their comfort zone was bombarded. Only trust in Jesus enabled them to survive the realm of discomfort.

    Jesus’ statement is comforting: “Let us go….” Do you know why? Because it means He goes along us. And knowing that He is there, crossing to the “other side” can become a safe, yet exhilirating adventure!

    Sergio Fortes is a mentor and consultant in logistics and corporate strategic business. As a member of CBMC in the city of Sao Paulo, Brazil, he coordinated “Monday’s Manna” review and translation in Portuguese for more than 20 years. He remains committed to the Lord Jesus in His mission to make disciples.

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. Do you have a “comfort zone”? How would you describe it?

     

    1. How easy do you find it to venture outside your comfort zone? Why do you think this is so – not only for yourself, but also for others? Even for businesses, corporations and other types of organizations?

     

    1. Think of an example when willingness to step outside your comfort zone proved to be beneficial. Did that result in your being able to step into the unfamiliar more often? Why or why not?

     

    1. What role does faith have in overcoming the temptation to remain within one’s comfort zone? What does Jesus’ challenge and promise, “Let us go to the other side,” mean for you?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages:
    Genesis 6:9-7:5; Exodus 3:1-14; Psalm 37:4-5; Proverbs 3:5-6, Matthew 28:19-20

  8. The Ever-Changing Tools Of The Trade

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    December 2, 2019 – Rick Boxx  The “tools” I was given for my first job in public accounting included an adding machine, pencils, and a pad of green columnar paper. The only computer I recall was a $1 million albatross located at a client’s office that no one could figure out how to use. How the times have changed since then!

    Today, my laptop computer is about the size of my former adding machine, capable of putting that $1 million dinosaur of a computer to shame. My laptop has eliminated the need for an adding machine, I rarely use a pencil for anything, and the green accounting paper has been replaced by software with a capacity for doing work we could not have imagined during the first years of my career.

    What is most interesting about this is how along with not being able to anticipate today’s advancements in decades past, we know that technology continues to present us with new tools and resources that we cannot envision right now. Just when we start thinking we have “arrived” in terms of technological breakthroughs, we learn about some new innovation.

    This is true not only for the workplace, but also for every aspect of our personal lives. If it has been a few years since purchasing a new car, we find ourselves amazed at new additions that make driving safer and more comfortable. Advances in communications move so quickly, it is almost impossible to keep pace with them.

    All of this newness continues to amaze us, but the Scriptures tell us we can eagerly look forward to discovering new things in the spiritual realm as well. In Isaiah 42:9, God said, “See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you.”

    If we look at the “book of beginnings,” the Old Testament book of Genesis, we read about God’s work of creation, how He started with nothing and created an entire universe and proceeded to create the world we know, along with everything in it – foremost of all, humankind. Finally, Genesis 2:1-2 tells us, “Then the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing, so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.”

    However, this did not mean God forever ceased from His plan to create and oversee the wonders that we experience every day. As Jesus Christ told His followers, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working” (John 5:17). Best of all, this work is not limited to a broad, general sense. God’s work of “newness” takes place in the lives of each of His people every day. He can and desires to perform an act of recreation in us as well.

    As the apostle Paul wrote, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” As the seasons change, we see a continual march of new replacing the old. And as the Spirit of God works in our hearts, we can experience new life – new desires, new motives, new values and new strength – moving in to replace our old lives that brought us so much failure and frustration.

    The future tools of our trades, the resources we utilize for performing our daily jobs, are usually announced in a very rudimentary form. However, if we pay attention and are receptive, we can be prepared for the new things God has declared that He will do in us and through us, for His glory, whether it is where we work or where we live.

    © 2019, 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, visit www.unconventionalbusiness.org. His latest book, Unconventional Business, provides “Five Keys to Growing a Business God’s Way.”

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. How have the tools you use at work changed since you began your career? What have been the greatest changes and innovations for enabling you to do what you do?

     

    1. Do you have any anxieties about forthcoming changes in your vocation or industry? How easily are you able to adapt to changes, especially those involving technological innovations?

     

    1. What are your thoughts about “newness” as it applies to spirituality – the spiritual dimension of our lives that includes our beliefs, values and motivations?

     

    1. Has God performed a new work in your life? Do you believe He is continuing to do so? Explain your answer. If so, how would you describe the new work that He has been doing in you?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages:
    John 3:3-8; Romans 6:1-11, 12:1-2; Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 4:22-24

  9. Remembering To Be Thankful – At All Times

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    November 25, 2019 – Robert J. Tamasy  What are you thankful for – your career, your family, your health, financial prosperity? How often do you pause to ponder or reflect on the positives in your life – to be genuinely thankful? And when you do give thanks, to whom, or what, do you express your gratitude?

    For many people in the United States, this week marks two important events: The official start of the Christmas season (although for many retailers, that began around the middle of August), and the observance of Thanksgiving Day, a holiday in which men, women and children offer thanks for their blessings in life. For some, it is a time to direct attention to the God who bestows those blessings. Others focus their thankfulness elsewhere – perhaps to good fortune, their own efforts, or random circumstances.

    Personally, I offer thanks to God, whom the Bible describes as the Creator, provider and sustainer of all that is, ever has been and ever will be. I recognize that I possess certain gifts and abilities, but also understand I did nothing to earn them. I certainly could not purchase them anywhere. I believe the Lord gave them to me to develop and use in bringing glory to Him. And for that, and many other things, I thank Him.

    At the same time, I do not believe thanksgiving should be confined to a particular day or season. One of the earliest Bible verses I learned admonishes, “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). As I understand it, “in all circumstances” or “in everything” (as another translation terms it) means…in all circumstances. In everything.

    So, this means we are to give thanks not only for good things that happen in our lives, what we typically define as our “blessings,” but also for difficult, even painful circumstances. Another passage presents it this way: “In every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6).

    It is east to feel gratitude at those times when everything seems to be going well. All the bills are paid; we have more than enough clothes to wear; we have a roof over our heads and food in the refrigerator; we have not had any health setbacks; we find our work enjoyable and rewarding. As some might say, “It’s all good!”

    However, we all have learned that in life, hardships and adversities do occur. Emergencies happen, upsetting our budgets. We or someone we love receive a concerning medical report. Our jobs become tedious, frustrating, even agonizing – yet we have no better options. How do we remain thankful at times like that? I think we find the answer in the Scriptures. Our focus should be on God, who promises to always be with us and to meet our needs, not on our circumstances, no matter how troubling they may be.

    In a well-known psalm, the writer describes numerous setbacks and admits, “In my anguish I cried to the Lord.” But then he adds, “and he answered by setting me free. The Lord is with me, I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (Psalm 118:5-6). Having this assurance, at both the beginning and the end of the psalm, he is able to exhort his readers, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, his love endures forever” (Psalm 118:1,29).

    When we trust that God is in control, we can give thanks to Him in good times and bad times. We can, as another Psalm tells us, “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise His name” (Psalm 100:4).

    © 2019. Robert J. Tamasy has written Marketplace Ambassadors; 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 Adversity by Mike Landry. Bob’s biweekly blog is: www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com.

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. To revisit the opening question, what things in your life are you most thankful for?

     

    1. Are there things in your life – difficult realities or circumstances – for which you find difficult to feel any measure of thankfulness? If those, what are those, and how have you been dealing with them?

     

    1. What is your reaction to reading biblical passages that tell us to “give thanks in all circumstances” or “in every situation”? How can that even be possible?

     

    1. How could shifting our focus away from difficult or challenging circumstances and instead, directing it toward God, whom the Scriptures describe as “good, his love endures forever,” change our feelings of thankfulness – or the lack of it? Explain your answer.

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages:
    Psalm 95:1-2, 147:1,7; Daniel 6:10; Ephesians 5:19-20; Colossians 3:17

  10. Mission: ‘Marketplace Ambassadors’

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    November 18, 2019 – Robert J. Tamasy  Way back in 1981, I heard about something called “CBMC” for the first time. I was seeking an employment change, and responded to an ad in a trade journal. The job was with an organization that at the time was called Christian Business Men’s Committee, although it is now known globally as Connecting Business and the Marketplace to Christ.

    The job description seemed perfect: I would become editor of the CBMC magazine and other publications, and also would be working with the ministry’s president – Ted DeMoss at the time – in writing a book about his life and experiences. Wow! Since I had been a newspaper editor for 10 years, two of my professional goals had been to one day write a magazine article and to write a book. These goals would no longer be mere aspirations – they were work assignments!

    What I did not realize at the time was this was more than a career move. It was an extremely unusual opportunity to grow spiritually. I served as editor for the CBMC magazine for 17 years, and the book I was assigned to write – The Gospel and the Briefcase – turned out to be just the first of more than 20 books I have been privileged to author, co-author and edit. But I am often reminded of Ephesians 3:20, which says, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine….” Another translation says God is able to do “exceeding abundantly,” and He certainly did that for me – not just in my career but even more important, in my life.

    Over the years, I have met countless individuals who were sold out to Jesus Christ, “satisfied customers” who embraced the truth of Acts 17:28, “For in Him we live and move and have our being.” They became role models and informal mentors for me, and through hundreds of workshops, conferences, retreats and training sessions, I learned much about what it means “work as for the Lord, rather than for men” (Colossians 3:23).

    Fast-forward to the present: The latest book I have written has just been published. Titled Marketplace Ambassadors, it recounts the history and heritage of CBMC since its founding in 1930, giving stories about its pioneer founders and leaders, and telling how the ministry has changed and grown over the decades. In a sense, this book brings my career full-circle as it has allowed me to recapture incredible, inspiring stories of people who have devoted their lives to serving Jesus Christ and others in His name and strategies they have used.

    The title for the book is taken from 2 Corinthians 5:20, which declares, “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” This says that every follower of Jesus is called to serve as His ambassador within their sphere of influence – and there is no sphere where the Good News of God’s love, grace and mercy is more greatly needed than the marketplace.

    CBMC was started in 1930 with the goal of offering hope and spiritual answers for people in great despair because of the Great Depression. Today, CBMC still brings the message of hope that is found only in Jesus Christ. However, the focus is exclusively on the business and professional world, serving as His ambassadors not only in the United States but in 96 countries around the world!

    We typically think of ambassadors as representing a nation or government entity. People in CBMC have a similar responsibility, except they represent something far greater – the eternal kingdom of God. In many ways, as Ted DeMoss used to say, the role is simple: “One beggar showing another beggar where to find bread.”

    © 2019. Robert J. Tamasy has written numerous books, including Marketplace Ambassadors: CBMC’s Continuing Legacy of Evangelism and Discipleship; Business at Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace; Tufting Legacies; The Heart of Mentoring, coauthored with David A. Stoddard; and edited other books, including Advancing Through Adversity by Mike Landry. Bob’s biweekly blog is: www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com.

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. What has God done in your life that could be described as “exceeding abundantly” or “Immeasurably more than all we think or imagine”?

     

    1. Has there been a time when you made a job change that proved to be much more than simply a career move? If so, what has that experience been like and how has it affected your life as a result?

     

    1. When you hear the term “marketplace ambassadors,” what images come to your mind? Can you envision yourself as a marketplace ambassador for Jesus Christ? Why or why not?

     

    1. How important is it to strive to effectively represent Christ in the business and professional world? How great is the need, in your view?

     

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

    Ecclesiastes 9:10; Matthew 6:19-21,33; Ephesians 2:10; Colossians 3:17,23-24; 2 Timothy 2:2