Category Archive: Monday Manna

  1. ‘Never Try To Be The Smartest Person In The Room’

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    September 30, 2019 – Robert J. Tamasy  There is a common saying, particularly in the world of sports, that “you win with people.” Even the best coach will fail without having quality, skilled players and support staff. The same holds true in the business and professional world. A visionary without a team of people to help in bringing his or her ideas into reality is just a dreamer.

    Unfortunately, whether it is because they are poor judges of talent, or because they want to protect their own fragile egos, some high-ranking executives hire only individuals of lesser capabilities. For those “leaders,” it gives a sense of protection from being surpassed by more gifted, better trained and educated staff members.

    Fortunately, not all CEOs and top executives feel that way. In fact, Michael Dell, founder and CEO of Dell Technologies, one of the world’s largest infrastructure companies, feels just the opposite. He stated, “Try never to be the smartest person in the room. And if you are, I suggest you invite smarter people…or find a different room.”

    That says a lot about Dell and other leaders like him. First of all, they are humble enough to not feel threatened by people who know more or can do more than he can. Second, they understand that for the benefit of the company and all of its stakeholders, they have the obligation to present the best product possible – and that would require having individuals on the team with expertise in some areas that they lack. And third, the true mark of a good leader is not accomplishing all the work alone, but recruiting the best people to share the load.

    I recall the days when I was a magazine editor. For me, some of the most enjoyable, exhilarating days were when we held planning meetings for each issue. We would take the articles and columns that had been written, then brainstorm about titles, illustrations and other graphics to give them as much reader appeal as possible.

    Although I had some strong opinions about some things, I recognized the graphic designers would come up with better visual concepts than I could. They brought compelling, creative ideas I could never have imagined. Some people in the room were more detail-oriented than I was, so they noticed things I probably would have let fall through the proverbial “cracks.” And others just offered perspectives I never would have considered. When the magazine was produced and printed, it became clear, as I heard a wise person say, that “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.” The Scriptures have much to say about this:

    Trusting in God can provide the humility needed. Some in leadership positions may fear being “shown up” by others and losing their positions of authority and responsibility. However, trusting in God gives us the confidence to believe He has directed the right people in our lives at the right time, even in the workplace. “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time” (1 Peter 5:6).

    Recognizing the gifts and contributions of others. Whether in a family, a church, or a company, everyone has a specific, important role to play. Even seemingly lesser parts are critical for producing the desired end result. “Now the body is not made up of one part but of many…. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be?… But in fact God has arranged the parts of the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be…” (1 Corinthians 12:14-20).

    The more people involved, the more we can get done. Walking with God in the workplace, we can discover He can far exceed our hopes and expectations – often working through other people . “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power at work within us…” (Ephesians 3:20).

    © 2019. 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. How do you typically feel when you are in a meeting, or involved in a team project, and discover some of the other people are smarter or more talented than you are?

     

    1. What are some ways you can think of to overcome feelings of being threatened by individuals who seem more skills or capable?

     

    1. Looking at the question from a different angle, have there been times when you felt thankful for not being the smartest person in the room? If so, describe a situation when you were able to do that.

     

    1. Can you think of a time when the team of people you were working with actually accomplished more than you thought possible? What was that experience like for you – and for them?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages:
    Nehemiah 6:15-16, 9:5-6; Proverbs 27:17; Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

  2. What Do You Want In Life?

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    September 23, 2019 – Jim Langley  “What do you want in life?”Has anyone ever asked you that question? The best way to answer is by determining what is most important to you. Over more than 50 years, I have watched many business people become obsessed with success in their chosen profession. Some have even prayed for personal gain.

    I see nothing wrong with striving for success, but believe God wants us to direct our prayers not toward ourselves, but for the needs of others and the advancement of His kingdom. I do not envision God anxiously waiting to fulfill our every selfish prayer when there is so much good we could be doing for others.

    Sometimes I think of the Lord’s sobering words to Baruch who became despondent and questioned the prophet Jeremiah in his time of sorrow and pain. Here is what God said through the prophet to Baruch and anyone looking for special treatment in this life: “The Lord said, Say this to him: ‘This is what the Lord says: I will overthrow what I have built and uproot what I have planted, throughout the land. Should you then seek great things for yourself? Seek them not. For I will bring disaster on all people, declares the Lord, but wherever you go I will let you escape with your life’”(Jeremiah 45:4-5).

    We need to understand we are not owed any special dispensation. Some come into this world with much, while many arrive with very little. But we all arrive naked and will leave the same way. There was a time in my life when I often prayed for success and financial reward. That changed drastically after reading a book by Bruce Wilkinson, The Prayer of Jabez,in 2001. It helped me realize how superficial my prayer life was.

    The book is based on two verses in a passage tracing the lineage of the tribe of Judah. It starts, “Jabez was more honorable than his brothers”(1 Chronicles 4:9-10). Why was this guy more honorable? Wilkinson explains Jabez specifically prayed for God to bless him, enlarge his territory, be with him continually, and not let him be harmed so that he would be free from pain. It says God granted his request!

    Since then I have been praying my own customized version of Jabez’ prayer. I pray, “Lord, I ask you to bless me beyond my expectations. Expand my borders, my areas of influence for Your glory. Keep Your hand on me constantly Lord and keep evil from me so I may not cause pain.”I continue to pray that without any expectations, and have been blessed immensely over the years. As we pray, what is most important is the condition of our heart – more than the specific words we direct to our Heavenly Father. He knows our heart and wants to bless us in ways we cannot comprehend.

    This has helped define what I want in life, but has nothing to do with earthly wealth and riches. Many of my blessings did not even seem like blessings at the time. Yet through it all, I have drawn closer to God; His hand has been on me constantly. He has expanded my borders and areas of influence, and used me in ways I would never have imagined. He’s truly blessed me beyond my expectations.

    I have come to realize it is not about my own accomplishments or skills. All that matters is knowing I am in His will and one day will know Him, as described in 1 John 3:2: “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”Is a relationship with Jesus your main focus – what you want in life?

    © 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 personal relationship with God and his goal to encourage others to draw near to Him as well. He is a long-time member of CBMC.

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. Suppose someone were to look you in the eye and ask, “What do you want in life? What do you really hope to get out of it?” How would you respond?

     

    1. If you pray about your job and the work you do, have you prayed for success and achievement? If so, in what ways – and what has been the response to those prayers? Explain your answer.

     

    1. In the book mentioned, The Prayer of Jabez, two verses from the Bible’s Old Testament highlight the prayer of an obscure man for personal blessings? Some people would be eager to submit such a request to God, while others might consider it inappropriate to do. What is you view about this? Explain your answer.

     

    1. How do you think expressing a prayer as Jabez did could affect one’s perspective on what they want in life? If you were to personalize this prayer, how would you like it to be answered?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible, read and reflect on the following passages:
    Psalms 1:1-6, 23:1-6; Matthew 6:9-13; 18:2-4; John 17:20-22

  3. Humble, Hungry And Hard-Working

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    September 16, 2019 – Robert J. Tamasy  Everyone, it seems, wants to know the secret to success. I recall as a young journalist looking around and seeing people I admired, individuals who were already making their mark in the world. “I want to be like them!” I thought. “How do I get to where they are?”

    Unfortunately, there is no single, universal secret to success. Bookstores and libraries are filled with copies of books by authors who claim to know the secret. If we go to an online retail site that sells books, and enter “Success” in the search box, we can find numerous choices written by people who will tell us with great conviction how they achieved success.

    There are countless slogans, philosophies and strategies for becoming successful, but sometimes it helps to realize that while there is no magic, one-size-fits-all formula. For most people, success requires a few very simple ingredients, things that do not require very specific skill sets.

    Usually I put little stock in what actors and other entertainers have to say, even rich and famous ones. Because their careers consist of pretending to be other people that they are not, living in worlds that do not exist. So how can they be experts on reality? However, recently I came across a quotation by an actor that suggested a time-tested path to success that made so much sense I could not ignore it.

    Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, an actor who has appeared in many commercially successful films, said, “Be humble. Be hungry. And always be the hardest worker in the room.” That resonated with me, and I suspect it has appeal for others as well. He did not say we must be the smartest people, or the ones with the most status, or the most impressive resumes. Johnson simply said we must be humble, hungry, and willing to outwork everyone else. This is exactly what the Bible teaches in the book of Proverbs:

    Humility can be a very attractive quality. In a world where many people are seeking to draw attention to themselves, there is something refreshing about people who work quietly, efficiently and with excellence, not overflowing with egotism. “Before his downfall a man’s heart is proud, but humility comes before honor” (Proverbs 18:12).“Humility and the fear of the Lord bring wealth and honor and life” (Proverbs 22:4).

    Hunger can be an excellent motivator. Complacency and self-satisfaction can inhibit top performance, but hunger – whether to pay bills, gain a client, make a sale, or achieve a goal – can inspire our best work. “The laborer’s appetite works for him; his hunger drives him on” (Proverbs 16:26). “He who works his land will have abundant food, but he who chases fantasies lacks judgment” (Proverbs 12:11).

    Hard work, with excellence, receives notice. Which would you rather see: Someone trying everything possible to be noticed, or someone whose work is of such high quality that it speaks for itself? One’s diligence and excellence serve as outstanding character references.“Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth” (Proverbs 10:4). “Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will serve before kings; he will not serve before obscure men” (Proverbs 22:29).

    If success is what you seek, cultivate humility, stay hungry, and never stop working hard.

    © 2019. 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. If someone had asked you before reading this, what would you have said is the secret to success? Has reading this week’s “Monday Manna” given you a new perspective on that?

     

    1. How does a person cultivate true humility?

     

    1. What good does hunger serve in a person’s quest to achieve success? What does this look like, in your opinion?

     

    1. Why is being known as a hard worker cited as a key ingredient for attaining some level of success? What should we do if people not working as hard as we are receive recognition and promotions?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages:
    Proverbs 10:5, 11:2, 12:24, 13:4, 13:10, 16:18, 18:9, 25:6-7, 27:2

  4. Life Is Usually Best With Others

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    September 9, 2019 – Jim Mathis  On a Sunday early this year, my wife and I went to church. At our church, worship could best be described as a party for God. We always have a great time. Even though each service officially lasts only an hour, typically we are there for at least three hours, drinking coffee, talking with old friends, and meeting new ones. This seems to be part of what the Bible means when it says,“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another” (Hebrews 10:25).

    Later that afternoon I went to my seasonal job with a tax preparation company. Since it was the day for professional football’s Super Bowl, business was slow, but we have an international office with some brilliant, funny, immigrant tax professionals. We had a good time and the hours went by quickly.

    After that I went to a Super Bowl watch party put on by our homeowner’s association. I probably would not have even watched the game if I had been at home, but hanging out with the neighbors, talking and enjoying each other’s company made for a good evening.

    Being a natural introvert, I need a few hours by myself to regroup after spending an entire day being around people like that, but I can say without a doubt that “life is better together.” The good times are better – and the bad times are not so bad – if we share them with neighbors, co-workers, church family, friends and relatives.

    In the Scriptures we read a lot about the virtues of being with other people, not only for socializing but also for accomplishing important work. Here are some principles it teaches that have universal application:

    Together we can share the load. It has often been observed that two horses pulling together can move multiple times the load that one horse can pull. The same often applies for us in the workplace, especially when the project we undertake is especially challenging. “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 that man who falls and has no one to help him up!… Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).

    Together we can work to improve our skill levels. Even the most talented individuals can benefit from interacting with others. We can reinforce one another’s strengths, make suggestions for improvement, and even point out one another’s blind spots. “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17).

    Together we can shoulder responsibilities that one person cannot bear alone. Moses had been given the responsibility of leading the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt. Before long he realized he was incapable to resolving all of their problems and addressing their conflicts. In response, God appointed elders – other respected leaders – to take on the lesser responsibilities and free Moses to deal only with the most important issues that arose. We would be wise to seek similar assistance when needed. I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me”(Numbers 11:14).

    Looking at my calendar, I can see that this is going to be a good week because I have four times scheduled to get together with friends for breakfast, lunch, or just to talk. Life is best when we treat it like a team sport. Live it – and work it – with friends wherever you find them.

    © 2019. Jim Mathis is the owner of a photography studio in Overland Park, Kansas, specializing in executive, commercial and theatrical portraits, and operates a school of photography.  He formerly was executive director of CBMC in Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri.

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. How would you compare a person who is introverted with a person who is extroverted? Someone has defined an extrovert as some who draws energy from people and needs to be around them, while an introvert is someone whose energy is gradually drained by being with people. Do you agree with that? Why or why not?

     

    1. Which do you tend to be – more extroverted, or more introverted? How do you find that trait being manifested in your life?

     

    1. Do you agree that even if a person is shy, or an introvert, they still need to be with people, willingly interacting with them not only socially but also in working cooperatively? What can be some of the pitfalls of not spending time with people?

     

    1. In Genesis 2:18, God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone.” Do you think He was referring to companionship, or does this principle apply to other areas of life? Explain your answer.

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages: Exodus 18:18; Mark 6:7-8;
    Acts 13:2-5; 2 Corinthians 5:20; 2 Timothy 2:2

  5. Trusting In God’s Direction, No Matter What

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    September 2, 2019 – Rick Boxx  When Larry was CEO of an information systems company, someone filed an unwarranted lawsuit against the company. Along the way, even though Larry’s company was innocent of any wrongdoing, many people urged him to settle the lawsuit. The cost of mounting a defense, even if unjustified, as well as the time defending the case would require, made an out of court settlement the most reasonable course of action, they contended.

    Rather than conceding to those recommendations, Larry prayed for wisdom and direction. As he did that, God impressed upon Larry that rather than settling, he should defend the company because it was innocent. The prolonged legal process did cost millions of dollars in legal fees, but the company was ultimately vindicated and cleared of the wrongful claims.

    In the meantime, God blessed and prospered the business so much that the legal fees became insignificant in size. Reflecting back on that troublesome and stressful time, Larry concluded that the fact his company had thrived in the midst of great adversity was a reflection of God’s favor for obedience.

    Repeatedly in the Scriptures we read that we should seek God-inspired counsel when confronted with difficult decisions. For instance, Proverbs 15:22 states, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” However, that does not guarantee that all the advice we receive is necessarily correct. We need to consult the Lord directly, and when He leads us in ways contrary to the counsel we have received, we still must do as He instructs.

    Close, trusted friends are an asset, without question. But they can never replace and should not supplant the counsel of the One we should trust the most. Jesus spoke to His followers and admonished them about the importance of remaining close to Him: If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you” John 15:7). The Bible often underscores the importance of having complete trust in God:

    Trust even when we don’t understand. Sometimes God calls us to act in counterintuitive ways, as Larry did in rejecting the recommendation to settle the unwarranted suit. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight”(Proverbs 3:5-6).

    Trust even when we fear disaster. Emotions may cause us to seek the fastest, seemingly easiest solutions to pressing problems. However, belief that God has our best interests at heart should encourage us to look to Him, rather than at our circumstances. “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 29:11).

    Trust even when God’s way doesn’t seem practical. If God is leading you to take a stand, trust in Him, even when others disagree. “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun” (Psalm 37:4-5).

    © 2019, Unconventional Business 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. Do you understand why people urged Larry to seek an out of court settlement, even though he knew his company had done no wrong? Why do you think they recommended he take that course of action?

     

    1. How easy – or difficult – do you think it is to make decisions the run counter to the seemingly well-intended counsel you are receiving from people around you? Explain your answer.

     

    1. In the case described, Larry prayed about what he should do and then felt impressed to act contrary to the advice he had received. Have you ever done something like this? How would you go about seeking God’s wisdom and will regarding a difficult challenge you were facing?

     

    1. What does it feel like to “not lean on your own understanding,” as Proverbs 3:5-6 instructs? Can you think of a time when you had to do this, even if with reluctance? Describe the situation and what its outcome. What did you learn from it?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages:
    Psalm 37:1-7,34; Proverbs 11:14, 12:5, 12:26, 18:24, 19:20, 24:5-6

  6. The Business Of Brokenness

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    August 26, 2019 – Robert J. Tamasy  What do you typically do with something that gets broken, like a smartphone, a watch, a pen, or even a car? Try getting it repaired? Dispose of it? Or find a suitable replacement? Such responses are common, but recently I was reading about a better way of repairing cherished possessions that can actually make them more valuable.

    Have you heard about “Kintsugi”? Also called Kintsukuroi, it means “golden repair.” It’s a centuries-old Japanese art for restoring broken pottery with lacquer dusted or mixed with precious metal, such as gold, silver or platinum. This process is rooted in a philosophy that regards breakage and repair as part of the valued object’s history, rather than something to be disguised or forgotten. In effect, this amounts to a celebration of the brokenness.

    This caused me to think about the episodes of brokenness we experience throughout the course of this journey we call life. No matter how much we try to avoid it, failure figures as prominently in our careers as does success: Job interviews for promising jobs don’t work out. Much-anticipated promotions don’t come. Well-conceived business ventures don’t succeed. Sales contracts are not finalized. Entrepreneurs have to file for bankruptcy, sometimes more than once, when risks are not rewarded.

    What if, instead of trying to ignore or conceal such failures and broken times, we gave them the Kintsugi treatment, seeing negative experiences as opportunities for growth, to persevere until we achieve success?

    Brokenness can serve valuable purposes in our personal lives as well. In fact, the Bible teaches that God uses it to build us into the men and women He desires for us to become. Psalm 51:17 says, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” Why is this? Let’s look at some other Scripture passages to find an answer:

    Brokenness develops necessary humility. Success has the tendency to make us feel puffed up, filled with pride and thinking more highly of ourselves than we should. For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in a high and holy place, and with the oppressed and humble of spirit, to restore the spirit of the lowly and revive the heart of the contrite’(Isaiah 57:15).

    Brokenness gets our hearts back on the right course. Sometimes our outward actions seem right, but deep down we realize they are based on the wrong motives. Being broken can cause us to reexamine not only what we do, but also why we are doing it. Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, obedience is better than sacrifice, and attentiveness is better than the fat of rams(1 Samuel 15:22).

    Brokenness can turn our eyes back to God. When things are going well for us, both professionally and personally, we can become tempted to forget our reliance on God. “So rend your hearts and not your garments, and return to the LORD your God. For He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, and abounding in loving devotion”(Joel2:13).

    Brokenness helps us learn to be dependent. The business and professional world often promotes an attitude of, “I can do this all by myself.” Experiencing brokenness can bring us to the end of our trust in self-sufficiency. Jesus declared, declared, “I am the vine, you are the branches…apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

    © 2019. 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 do you usually do with things once they become broken? Do you opt for trying to repair them, discarding them, or replacing them? Give a recent example.

     

    1. Had you ever heard of the Kintsugi process for repairing valuable broken pottery? What do you think of letting broken areas remain visible, recognizing them as part of the object’s history? Are there areas of your life and career that you would be willing to have treated with the Kintsugi approach? What about areas you wouldn’t want to be seen?

     

    1. How do you think God uses a process similar to Kintsugi in making needed repairs in our lives in a spiritual sense? Read 2 Corinthians 5:17 and Galatians 2:20. What do these verses tell us about how the Lord deals with brokenness?

     

    1. Psalm 12:6 tells us, “the words of the Lord are flawless, like silver refined in a furnace of clay, purified seven times.” How might this relate to our desire to overcome brokenness in our lives?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about principles it presents, consider the following passages:
    Psalm 51:10-12; Proverbs 15:33, 16:18, 17:3, 27:21; Isaiah 40:28-31; Philippians 4:13

  7. Begin With The End In Mind

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    August 19, 2019 – Ken Korkow  Two years ago, after having subscribed to the Wall Street Journalfor more than 40 years and to the Omaha World-Heraldfor more than 30, I canceled both. They were consuming my time and I had concluded most of the news only represented a record of what our spiritual enemy, Satan, had done the day before.

    Then, after returning to my home in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.A. after a weekend at my family’s ranch, I canceled my Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts. Again because I have limited time and energy, and want to expend it while being focused on God’s higher purposes. I have finally come to this conclusion: I must concentrate on knowing God more intimately – and living for Him more intentionally.

    Every day I ask the Lord to provide divine appointments and keep the time-wasters away – and He does it. I am allowed to participate in His divine purposes in ways I could never orchestrate. Life’s Highest Adventure is seeing where God is working and getting involved with what He is doing.

    Recently I had an appointment with a Marine Corps veteran. We had no previous contact, so as we sat over lunch I went first in telling my story. When I do this, my intent to “blow them out, or blow them in” – because if someone isn’t serious about dealing with issues in their life, then now is not when they are ready for change and my time is better invested in other ways. But even if they do not seem interested, I do my best to leave the door open so that when their pain hurts enough, they might remember I cared enough to be honest and transparent – and that I said that I would be available.

    Midway through sharing my story, this person stopped me. With tears he asked, “Can you be a Christian and still consider suicide?” Then this Marine veteran told me about a very serious suicide attempt the day before. He admitted that he should have been dead.

    We did meet again, and the life transformation of this Marine has been amazing. The overflow of his life into the lives of other veterans is equally amazing. Others now want to meet, come to our ranch where we minister to veterans dealing with wartime trauma, or find out how a personal encounter with God might heal their pains.

    I look at the life of Jesus Christ and recognize the truth of a statement Oswald Chambers made: “The greatest competitor of devotion to Jesus is service for Him.” Christ ministered to people, but that ministry resulted from the overflow of God’s Spirit. In a similar way, I recognize more and more the necessity of marinating in God’s Word, and being alone to pray and listen. Which means eliminating unnecessary distractions.

    Forty-eight years ago I earned my master’s degree in business administration. Today I recall only one thing of value from that huge investment of time and expense. That thing is: BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND.

    My personal observation is that very few people who profess to be followers of Jesus Christ finish well. They lose their desire to seek, grow and obey in their walk with God. When asked what they see the Lord doing in and through their lives, most people recount a story from 10 years ago. But I have been blessed to watch a few men finish well. You might not recognize their names, but they include Ted DeMoss, Dean Parrack, Ted Hubbard, Hank Grasmick and Jim Wilson. All finished their lives still devoted to knowing and serving their Lord.

    Will you be one of those who finish well? Will I? We decide each day – by how we allocate the time, talent, and treasure God has entrusted. If we do not finish well, we will have no positive eternal impact in the lives of others.

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

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. What do you think of the writer’s decision to terminate subscriptions to publications he had received for many years? Do you think this is necessary, based on his reasoning? Have you ever done anything like this? Explain your answer.

     

    1. How might interesting but unnecessary distractions keep us from pursuing the things God might have for us to do?

     

    1. What do you think the statement, “Begin with the end in mind,” means? How would you apply it to your own personal and professional circumstances?

     

    1. Many years ago a British missionary named C.T. Studd wrote a poem that ended with these words: “Only one life ’twill soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.” Think about that for a few moments. Do you agree with what he said? How do you think someone can seek to apply that perspective in their everyday life and work?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages:
    Ecclesiastes 3:1-17; Galatians 6:9-10; Ephesians 5:16, 6:10-20; Colossians 4:5-6

  8. Life At The End Of Your Comfort Zone

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    August 12, 2019 – Robert J. Tamasy  Some people are natural risk-takers. They are the first ones to try skydiving or bungee jumping. They study a restaurant menu and search for the unusual selection, the exotic concoction few people ever order. Rather than opt for the security of a job with an established company, they venture out on their own without assurance of success but certain they don’t want the regret of not pursuing their dream.

    I admire people like that. Because I have spent much of my life choosing what I perceived to be the safe and secure course, often the path of least resistance and stress. Making cautious, carefully considered decisions. Electing to stay with what felt comfortable. However, many of my most rewarding experiences have come when I have been willing to venture beyond my comfort zone.

    A speaker reminded me of this recently when he talked about “life at the end of your comfort zone.” This can mean many things: the willingness to consider new ideas, even ones that challenge your accepted views and understanding. Being willing to forgo your standard choice at your favorite restaurant to try something different – or even trying a new, unusual restaurant!

    Over my career, many of my most rewarding accomplishments have come at the end of my personal comfort zone: Attempting to submit a magazine article for the first time, risking rejection; collaborating with someone in writing a book for the first time; leaving the security of a guaranteed income to join a ministry that required me to raise all of my financial support; agreeing to speak publicly despite my natural shyness.

    Spiritually it has been much the same for me. I remember learning about CBMC’s discipling program, “Operation Timothy.” I asked a good friend to take me through it as a mentor, but he recommended, “Why don’t you find someone that you can take through Operation Timothy, instead?” Even though I did not feel very prepared for helping someone else grow spiritually, I discovered that experience among the most fulfilling I have ever had. And in the process, I found the person who grew the most rapidly was…me.

    The greatest example of moving past the end of our comfort zone, spiritually speaking, is committing our life to Jesus Christ, not only for the hope of life after death, but also for life before death – including in the workplace. Operating a business, or carrying out our job responsibilities, according to biblical principles, especially when it runs counter to the practices of our peers, definitely takes us out of our comfort zone. Here are just a couple of things the Bible says about that:

    Clinging to integrity when competitors do not. Living and working in a competitive world, it seems easy to yield to the temptation to act the same as everyone else does. God’s standard, however, is often very different. It requires faith not to do as everyone else is doing. “The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out” (Proverbs 10:9).

    Trusting God when circumstances do not make sense. Situations arise that take us off guard, ones we cannot comprehend and don’t know how to resolve. Often these are occasions God uses for teaching us to live outside our comfort zones – and instead, find our comfort in Him. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).

    © 2019. 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. Are you a risk-taker, eager to test the new and challenging? Or do you prefer to operate within your personal comfort zone, both in your personal and professional life? Explain your answer.

     

    1. Why do you think most of us find the “comfort zone” so attractive?

     

    1. Give an example of a time you willingly stepped beyond your comfort zone – or were forced to do so? What were the circumstances, and the results? How has that experience affected you since then?

     

    1. Do you think that truly trusting in God, acting according to faith in Jesus Christ, requires us to venture far outside of our comfort zones – maybe even many times? Why or why not?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about principles it presents, consider the following passages:
    Psalm 1:1-6; Proverbs 3:5-6, 16:3,9, 23:23; Isaiah 26:3, 40:27:31; Jeremiah 29:11

  9. Is This A Good Time For A Restart?

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    August 5, 2019 – Rick Boxx  A calendar year has 12 months, but during the summer months many of us experience a notable change in work demands and schedules. Businesses often find employees distracted with their children being home for the summer, taking their annual break from school. Many workers are eagerly anticipating vacations for times of much-needed rest and relaxation. Either way, they receive a break from the daily demands of work.

    In some cultures, such as in Europe, during the summer months work staffs can take extended holiday breaks from their regular work routine. “Business as usual” slows, or comes to a sudden halt. With this slowdown in the pace and momentum of the work, business teams become shorthanded temporarily. A question then becomes how to use this time most usefully.

    In a general sense, the conclusion of a school year or time for staff vacations can serve as an excellent time for a restart. This might involve meeting with your staff as they are available, casting vision for the coming months. It becomes a time for reenergizing and refocusing your team. These “down times” can prove to be as important as the periods of concentrated productivity.

    Offering your team an opportunity to remember why they are there can help your organization in being more productive in the future. The Bible gives a humorous description of people who lacked any focus for their activity: The assembly was in confusion: Some were shouting one thing, some another. Most of the people did not even know why they were there”(Acts 19:32). While the context was not about people in business, it could describe corporate teams who have become so busy they have forgotten their overall mission and goals.

    There is a temptation to insist on being busy for the sake of being busy. This brings to mind the boss who ran through the office shouting, “Don’t just stand there! Do something! Even if it’s wrong!” Sadly, this can be result in waste of effort and energy, and unintended lack of productivity.

    As a passage in the Bible’s Old Testament states so well, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven…. A time to plant and a time to uproot…a time to tear down and a time to build…a time to tear and a time to mend…a time to be silent and a time to speak” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-7). There is a time for moving forward – and should be a time for pausing to review how far we have come and where we hope to be going.

    We see this theme, the recognition of times when starting over is necessary, recurring in the Bible. For instance, after spending many years building an ark and then experiencing the great flood, Noah needed a restart. We see him receiving it in Genesis 9:1, “Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth.’” This signified the time for mankind’s literal restart.

    Your organization might not have just endured a great flood – or a major calamity – but a lull in the usual work routine should be welcomed. If you sense it is time for a restart with your team, don’t wait. Schedule a meeting today! Review questions like, “Why are we here?” and “Where are we going?”

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

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. Does your organization usually experience a time during the year when staffs are depleted by annual vacations or holidays, or workers restructure their days to accommodate children at home because the school year has ended? How do you or your company usually respond?

     

    1. What in your view is the value of a “restart,” taking time to slow down and re-evaluate the work you have been doing as well as your future plans, goals and objectives?

     

    1. Have you ever experienced something similar to what was described in the Bible, where people were obviously confused, even to a point where, “…the people did not even know why they were there”? If so, what did that feel like?

     

    1. If you sense it might be time for a restart in your business – or even for a restart in your life personally – how do you think you could you go about doing that?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages:
    Proverbs 10:4-5, 12:27, 14:23; Ecclesiastes 3:17,22; Acts 21:34; Ephesians 5:15-17

  10. A Fail-Safe Philosophy For Failure

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    July 29, 2019 — Robert J. Tamasy  Seth Godin, a consultant, entrepreneur and business blogger, posed a question to his readers that all of us have asked ourselves at one time or another: “But what if I fail?” Godin offered a realistic answer to that ominous possibility: “You will.” Then he asked an even more important question: “After I fail, what then?”

    Failure is one of the great certainties of life. Not every seed sprouts into a healthy, fruitful plant. Not every decision is the correct one. And not every attempt at trying something different, whether it is a business venture, an attempt to acquire a new skill, or even purchasing a new product, leads to success. However, failure is often a part of the process necessary for attaining success.

    As Godin observed, “if you have chosen well, after you fail you will be one step closer to succeeding, you will be wiser and stronger, and you almost certainly will be more respected by all of those that are afraid to try.” If nothing else, failure reveals one way for not achieving the success we desire.

    Stories have been told about how Thomas Alva Edison made hundreds of failed attempts for inventing the incandescent lightbulb before discovering the right way to get it done. If we examine the lives and careers of any highly successful executives and entrepreneurs, we will find their paths to success were littered with failures, times of discouragement, sometimes even bankruptcy. One secret to their success, however, was they never stopped trying. They refused to let failure define them.

    We find numerous examples in the Scriptures of people who failed on their way to success. One Old Testament example was Joseph, who got on his brother’s nerves by constantly reminding them he was their father’s favorite. He was sold into slavery, then wrongfully imprisoned, but Joseph still rose to be second in command of Egypt. And he formulated a plan to overcome a devastating famine, not only for the Egyptians but also for his family and ultimately, the people of Israel.

    In the New Testament, Peter, one of Jesus’ closest disciples, three times denied Him. Yet he later became one of the leaders of the early Church. And the apostle Paul was transformed from a misguided persecutor of Christians to another central figure of the first-century Church and author of numerous letters in the Bible. The Scriptures teach that failure need not be a dead end, but instead, can be a launching point. Here are some of its principles for dealing with failure:

    Team up with others. Failure is easier to bear when you do not have to carry the burden alone. “Two are better than on, because they have a good return for their work. If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who fails and has no one to help him up!” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).

    Learn to rely on God’s strength. Failure often teaches us the importance of trusting in and depending on God, His strength and wisdom. “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak…those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:29-31).

    Persevere when facing challenges. Quitting in the face of failure may prevent us from experiencing the joy of success if we just persisted with our endeavors a bit longer. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).

    © 2019. 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. How many times have you been hindered by the concern, “What if I fail?” How do you typically answer that question?

     

    1. What would you consider to be your greatest failure? What was its impact on you – then and now?

     

    1. When you read or hear accounts of people who have achieved great success after enduring much failure, how does that affect you? Does it inspire and motivate you, or do you reason that might have worked for them, but not for you? Explain your answer.

     

    1. In your view, how can we – or how should we – continue to persevere in the wake of failure? What is the role of faith in dealing with failure?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more this subject, consider the following passages:
    Proverbs 16:3,9, 19:21, 20:24, 27:1; 1 Corinthians 15:57-58: Hebrews 11:1,11-12,24-27